Defining the Optimal Threshold Scores for Adult Autism Subthreshold Spectrum (AdAS Spectrum) in Clinical and General Population

Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 31 December 2020 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1745017902016010204



The Adult Autism Subthreshold Spectrum (AdAS Spectrum) is a recently developed instrument tailored to assess the broad range of full-threshold as well as sub-threshold manifestations related to the autism spectrum. Although it has proved to be a valuable instrument for quantitative assessment of autistic symptoms, the AdAS Spectrum still lacks validated diagnostic thresholds.


The aim of this study was to define the best cut-off scores of the AdAS Spectrum for determining the presence of subthreshold autistic traits as well as a clinically significant autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


Our sample was composed of 39 patients with full-blown ASD, 73 subjects with autistic traits, and 150 healthy controls. Subjects were evaluated by trained psychiatrists, who performed a clinical diagnosis according to DSM-5 and then assessed with the AdAS Spectrum and the Autism Spectrum Quotient.


Our results showed that the most discriminant cut-off scores were 70 for identifying subjects with full-blown ASD, and 43 for determining the presence of significant autistic traits.


The threshold values proposed here showed satisfying levels of specificity and sensibility, as well as a good agreement with the diagnosis according to DSM-5 criteria, confirming the validity of the AdAS Spectrum as a psychometric tool for measuring ASD-related conditions in the clinical and general population.

Keywords: Autistic traits, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Psychometric instrument, AdAS Spectrum, Diagnostic threshold, RAADS.
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