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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2013

01-11-2013 | Original Paper

A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Autistic Traits in the UK, India and Malaysia

Auteurs: Megan Freeth, Elizabeth Sheppard, Rajani Ramachandran, Elizabeth Milne

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | Uitgave 11/2013

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Abstract

The disorder of autism is widely recognised throughout the world. However, the diagnostic criteria and theories of autism are based on research predominantly conducted in Western cultures. Here we compare the expression of autistic traits in a sample of neurotypical individuals from one Western culture (UK) and two Eastern cultures (India and Malaysia), using the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ) in order to identify possible cultural differences in the expression of autistic traits. Behaviours associated with autistic traits were reported to a greater extent in the Eastern cultures than the Western culture. Males scored higher than females and science students scored higher than non-science students in each culture. Indian students scored higher than both other groups on the Imagination sub-scale, Malaysian students scored higher than both other groups on the Attention Switching sub-scale. The underlying factor structures of the AQ for each population were derived and discussed.
Voetnoten
1
Science included engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, communications, computer science, biomedical sciences, pharmacy, genetics, medicine, B-tech, M-tech, biotechnology.
 
2
Social sciences/humanities/business included Master of Business Administration, psychology, language, literature, librarianship, education, economics, management, finance.
 
3
In order to be sure that the trend in the data for Indian and Malaysian students to score higher than UK students was not driven by the science students, planned comparisons indicated that UK non-science students scores significantly lower than both Indian non-science students [t(457) = 3.35, p = .001] and Malaysian non-science students [t(491) = 4.02, p < .001].
 
4
Due to 15 t-tests being conducted, statistical significance required p < .003.
 
5
These analyses were also run on the same data coded using the full 1–4 point Likert scale with the necessary data reversed such that answers in the autistic direction attained higher scores. The nature of the results was similar overall though there were some differences: The difference between Indian and Malaysian AQ scores reached significance with Indian students scoring lower overall, though still significantly higher than UK student (Mean Indian AQ = 115.3; Mean Malaysian AQ = 118.4; Mean UK AQ = 108.6). This appeared to be driven by Indian males scoring lower using this scoring method resulting in their scores lying between those of the Malaysian and UK males (Mean Indian male AQ = 115.2; Mean Malaysian male AQ = 119.1; Mean UK male AQ = 110.2) whereas the nature of the results using both scoring methods was very similar for females with Indian and Malaysian females both scoring higher than UK females but not scoring significantly differently from each other (Mean Indian female AQ = 115.4; Mean Malaysian female AQ = 117.7; Mean UK female = 106.9). The effects of course studied were very similar to those of the main analysis and no differences in the nature of results were observed. Also for the sub-scale analysis, results were very similar in nature to those of the main analyses and no differences in the nature of results were observed.
 
6
An additional PCA was run on 35 % of the UK data (n = 253) to check whether a similar factor structure in the UK sample would emerge in a sample that was of similar size to the Indian and Malaysian samples. The same 4 factors emerged. The “social situation enjoyment”, “attention to detail” and “imagination” factors actually accounted for more variance (18.4, 6.5 and 5.5 %) in this reduced dataset while the “poor social communication” factor accounted for somewhat less variance (4.5 %) than in the full dataset. The vast majority of items that loaded onto the 4 factors in the full dataset factor analysis also appeared in the reduced dataset factor analysis.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Autistic Traits in the UK, India and Malaysia
Auteurs
Megan Freeth
Elizabeth Sheppard
Rajani Ramachandran
Elizabeth Milne
Publicatiedatum
01-11-2013
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders / Uitgave 11/2013
Print ISSN: 0162-3257
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-3432
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1808-9