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Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of the Child Behavior Checklist and Teacher’s Report Form for assessing autism spectrum disorder in preschool-aged children

Authors Bara TS, Farias AC, Felden EPG, Cordeiro ML

Received 8 September 2017

Accepted for publication 16 November 2017

Published 28 December 2017 Volume 2018:14 Pages 95—102


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Tiago S Bara,1,2 Antonio C Farias,1–4 Erico PG Felden,5 Mara L Cordeiro1,2,6

1Neurosciences Core, Pelé Pequeno Príncipe Research Institute, 2Faculdades Pequeno Príncipe, 3Department of Neuropediatrics, Children’s Hospital, Pequeno Príncipe, 4School of Medicine, University Positivo, Curitiba, 5Centro de Ciências da Saúde e do Esporte (CEFID) da Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil; 6Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavior Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, Semel Institute for Neusroscience and Human Behavior, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social, behavioral, and communication impairments with an estimated prevalence of 1 in 68 school-aged children. There is a need for objective and easily applicable instruments for early identification of autistic children to enable initiation of early interventions during a very sensitive period of brain development and, consequently, optimize prognosis. Here, we tested the utility of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Caregiver-Teacher’s Report Form (C-TRF) scales for assessing ASD in Brazil, where ASD screening research is emergent.
Subjects and methods: A total of 70 children (2–5 years old, both sexes) were enrolled, including an ASD group (n=39) and a non-ASD control group (n=31). The preschool versions of the CBCL and C-TRF were applied. The CBCL and C-TRF results were compared between the ASD and non-ASD control groups with Mann–Whitney U tests and receiver operating characteristic analyses.
Results: The CBCL and C-TRF were found to have moderate accuracy for the dimensions withdrawn and autism spectrum problems, and to correlate with each other.
Conclusion: The CBCL and C-TRF may aid in early ASD detection.

Keywords: screening, instruments, AUC, early intervention

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