Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Anxiety, Autism spectrum disorder, Depression, Factorial invariance
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This study examined factorial invariance of three self-report measures of psychiatric symptoms—the World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS; Kessler et al., 2005), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Revised (CESD-R; Eaton, Smith, Ybarra, Muntaner, & Tien, 2004), and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995)—using a convenience sample of 434 adults surveyed though Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants were sorted into two groups based on their score on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ; Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Skinner, Martin, & Clubley, 2001). Of 423 participants included in the final sample, 203 were included in the low ASD traits group and 220 were included in the high ASD traits group. Results indicated that the CESD-R did not demonstrate configural invariance, such that the same latent constructs did not emerge across both the low ASD traits and high ASD traits groups. Further, the CESD-R did not possess the same factor model specifications as previously established in general and clinical adult populations. The DASS-21 demonstrated evidence of scalar invariance, indicating cross-group equality in factor loadings and factor intercepts. The ASRS demonstrated evidence of metric invariance in the current sample, indicating that the established latent factors were represented in the data but that the levels and relations among those factors differed across groups. Findings from this study demonstrate that the DASS-21 and the CESD-R are not fully invariant across those with and without a high level of ASD traits, such that scores on these measures may not be valid when assessing symptoms of depression and anxiety in the ASD population.
McKernan, Elizabeth Patrice, "Factor Invariance of Anxiety and Depression Measures in Autism" (2020). Dissertations - ALL. 1248.