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Limberg, Katharina; Gruber, Karolin; Noterdaeme, Michele (2017): The German version of the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5-5 to identify children with a risk of autism spectrum disorder. In: Autism, Vol. 21, No. 3: pp. 368-374


A long delay between the first registered symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and a final diagnosis has been reported. The reasons for this are the spare use of specialized autism instruments, missing clinical expertise, and the late referral to specialized centers in primary care. Previous studies recommending the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5-5 for screening have requested additional research. A total of 183 children aged 25-71months participated in this study. The Child Behavior Checklist scales of 80 children with autism spectrum disorder were compared with 103 children diagnosed with other psychiatric disorders. In the logistic regression analysis, the Withdrawn and Pervasive Developmental Problems Child Behavior Checklist scales with a significant predictive value of risk for an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis were identified. The optimal cutoff points T=64.5 on the Pervasive Developmental Problems scale (area under the curve=0.781, sensitivity=0.83, specificity=0.60, positive predictive value=0.62, negative predictive value=0.82, odds ratio=7) and T=60.5 on the Withdrawn scale (area under the curve=0.809, sensitivity=0.88, specificity=0.63, positive predictive value=0.65, negative predictive value=0.87, odds ratio=12) were evaluated in the receiver operating characteristics analysis. The present study confirms the utility of the German version of the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5-5 as a level 1 screening tool to identify children with a risk of autism spectrum disorder;however, a risk of over-identifying should be considered. The Child Behavior Checklist 1.5-5 can complement the pediatric examination as a quick and cost-effective questionnaire.