Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Introduction The Autism Spectrum Questionnaire (AQ, Baron-Cohen et al., 2001) is a self-report assessment tool aiming at screening autistic traits in normal intelligence adults. While numerous versions in other languages than English now exist, few factorial evidence do sustain the valid use of this instrument as it was conceived, based upon five distinct dimensions (Social skills, Communication, Attention to detail, Attention switching, Imagination); no such study exists with a French version of the AQ. The aim of our study is therefore to present the French version of the scale and to explore its factorial validity with confirmatory factorial analyses and, possibly, its invariance across men and women. Method Several confirmatory factorial analyses, with the robust WLSMV estimator for categorical response format, were run on the questionnaire data from 788 French-speaking students (17–25 years old) at university faculties or schools for higher education in Belgium. The original five-factor measurement model of the AQ was assessed as well as alternative models. An exploratory factorial analysis was also applied to get more insight as to possible sources of misfit. Results No measurement model – neither the original five-factor one nor any of the six other models tested – did produce statistics or fit indices close to significant values: there was no fit to the data. The internal consistency of the subscales was weak; the exploratory factorial analysis further confirmed that as much as ten factors were needed to explain 45% of the data variance. Conclusion Our results, with a French version of the scale, add to many other ones which suggest that the AQ is a too heterogeneous questionnaire with somewhat ill-defined dimensions and non specific/ambiguous items. The questionnaire should probably be shortened and its content realigned to core features of the autism spectrum.