Examining the Validity of the Columbia Impairment

Scale for Assessing Level of Functioning in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Background: Youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit impairment in numerous areas of functioning, most notably in the areas related to social interactions, communication, and behavior at school and at home. Understanding the severity of the impairment in each of the domains associated with areas of functioning is imperative when evaluating the efficacy of an intervention, whether it be medical, therapeutic, or both.

Objective: This study sought to examine the convergent and discriminant validity of the Columbia Impairment Scale (CIS) for youth with ASD, and their parents.

Methods: A sample of 77 adolescents with ASD and their parents completed the CIS and various other measures that examined mood, anxiety, and behavior.

Results: Although there was some evidence of convergent validity for the parent-report CIS, there was inadequate discriminant validity. The child-report version of the CIS yielded generally poor validity indices.

Conclusions: There appear to be important limitations when using this measure for youth with ASD.

Read More