Protocol for the development and validation of a questionnaire to assess concerning behaviours and mental health in individuals with autism spectrum disorders: the Assessment of Concerning Behaviour (ACB) scale

Paramala Santosh, Joanne Tarver, Felicity Gibbons, Silia Vitoratou, Emily Simonoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Co-occurring psychiatric conditions and concerning behaviours are prevalent in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and are likely to be detrimental to functioning and long-term outcomes. The cognitive rigidity and deficits in emotional literacy and verbal behaviour that commonly occur in ASD can adversely affect clinicians' confidence to identify concerning behaviours and mental health problems. There is a need to develop a measure that is tailored towards individuals with ASD, and differentiates between symptoms of psychopathology and core ASD symptoms. Furthermore, it should be modified to capture internalising symptoms that individuals with ASD may find difficult or be unable to verbalise. This protocol describes the intended development and validation of the Assessment of Concerning Behaviour (ACB) scale. The ACB will aim to be a multidimensional measure of concerning behaviours in ASD incorporating self-report, parent/carer, teacher/employer and clinician report versions that can be used across the lifespan and spectrum of intellectual ability.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This study will be guided by the methods described in the US Food and Drug Administration Guidance for Industry Patient-reported Outcome Measures. A literature review, cognitive interviews and focus groups with individuals who have experience of working or living with ASDs will be used for item generation. A sample of children and adults with ASD will complete the ACB, in addition to other gold standard measures of concerning behaviour in order to establish the initial psychometric properties of the scale.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has received ethical approval from the NHS Research Ethics Committee: London-Camden and King's Cross (ref: 15/LO/0085). Study findings will be disseminated to healthcare professionals and scientists in the field through publication in peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere010693
JournalBMJ Open
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder/psychology
  • Behavior Rating Scale/standards
  • Child
  • Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnosis
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • London
  • Male
  • Mental Health/standards
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

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