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Measuring self and informant perspectives of Restricted and Repetitive Behaviours (RRBs): psychometric evaluation of the Repetitive Behaviours Questionnaire-3 (RBQ-3) in adult clinical practice and research settings

Jones, Catherine R.G. ORCID:, Livingston, Lucy A. ORCID:, Fretwell, Christine, Uljarević, Mirko, Carrington, Sarah J., Shah, Punit and Leekam, Susan R. ORCID: 2024. Measuring self and informant perspectives of Restricted and Repetitive Behaviours (RRBs): psychometric evaluation of the Repetitive Behaviours Questionnaire-3 (RBQ-3) in adult clinical practice and research settings. Molecular Autism 15 (1) , 24. 10.1186/s13229-024-00603-7

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Background: Brief questionnaires that comprehensively capture key restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRBs) across different informants have potential to support autism diagnostic services. We tested the psychometric properties of the 20-item Repetitive Behaviours Questionnaire-3 (RBQ-3), a questionnaire that includes self-report and informant-report versions enabling use across the lifespan. Method: In Study 1, adults referred to a specialised adult autism diagnostic service (N = 110) completed the RBQ-3 self-report version, and a relative or long-term friend completed the RBQ-3 informant-report version. Clinicians completed the abbreviated version of the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO-Abbreviated) with the same adults as part of the diagnostic process. For half of the assessments, clinicians were blind to the RBQ-3 ratings. We tested internal consistency, cross-informant reliability and convergent validity of the RBQ-3. In Study 2, a follow-up online study with autistic (N = 151) and non-autistic (N = 151) adults, we further tested internal consistency of the RBQ-3 self-report version. We also tested group differences and response patterns in this sample. Results: Study 1 showed good to excellent internal consistency for both self- and informant-report versions of the RBQ-3 (total score, α = 0.90, ω = 0.90, subscales, α = 0.76-0.89, ω = 0.77-0.88). Study 1 also showed cross-informant reliability as the RBQ-3 self-report scores significantly correlated with RBQ-3 informant-report scores for the total score (rs = 0.71) and subscales (rs= 0.69-0.72). Convergent validity was found for both self and informant versions of the RBQ-3, which significantly correlated with DISCO-Abbreviated RRB domain scores (rs = 0.45-0.54). Moreover, the RBQ-3 scores showed significantly weaker association with DISCO -Abbreviated scores for the Social Communication domain, demonstrating divergent validity. Importantly, these patterns of validity were found even when clinicians were blind to RBQ-3 items. In Study 2, for both autistic and non-autistic groups, internal consistency was found for the total score (α = 0.82-0.89, ω = 0.81-0.81) and for subscales (α = 0.68-0.85, ω = 0.69-0.85). A group difference was found between groups. Limitations: Due to the characteristics and scope of the specialist autism diagnostic service, further testing is needed to include representative samples of age (including children) and intellectual ability, and those with a non-autistic diagnostic outcome. Conclusions: The RBQ-3 is a questionnaire of RRBs that can be used across the lifespan. The current study tested its psychometric properties with autistic adults without intellectual disability and supported its utility for both clinical diagnostic and research settings.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 2040-2392
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 June 2024
Date of Acceptance: 11 May 2024
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2024 08:46

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