A comparison of Social Responsiveness Scores in patients aged 0-24 with Autism Spectrum Disorder or schizophrenia.
Miller, Ph.D., Haylie
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Purpose: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia share common features; past research demonstrates that these features include pathophysiology, social-cognitive impairments, possible genetic underpinnings, and risk factors. In both disorders, social cognition presents a key barrier to quality of life. One measure of social cognition designed for use in ASD, the Social Responsiveness Score (SRS), is also commonly used to assess social cognition and plan interventions in schizophrenia. We aimed to determine whether people with ASD and schizophrenia differ in the mean and range of their SRS scores. Methods: We identified an age-matched sample of fifteen individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Male = 13, Female = 2; MAge= 22.71, SDAge= 3.24) from the National Database of Autism Research and thirteen individuals with schizophrenia (Male = 10, Female = 3; MAge= 22.07, SDAge= 2.99) from the SchizConnect database. All individuals were between the ages of 0 and 24 years. Data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel and the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software. SRS T-scores Results: Mean SRS scores did not differ between the ASD (M = 80.50, SD = 14.32) and the schizophrenia (M = 89.78, SD = 39.37) groups (p = 0.22). Although the group means were not significantly different, the schizophrenia group had a notably wider range of SRS scores than the ASD group. Conclusions: Although our groups did not differ in their mean SRS scores, there was wide variability in the schizophrenia group. The SRS was designed for ASD, and may not be an adequate measure of social dysfunction in other populations. At minimum, this wide variability suggests that when using the SRS as a tool for assessing social-communication skills in schizophrenia, the influence of other factors (such as age, behavior, or language) must also be considered. Further study is required to fully assess the clinical utility of this tool for non-ASD populations.