Objective: Research about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) supports variation in symptom presentations across settings, and there is a growing literature that explicates how this variability may improve characterization of the autism phenotype. Capitalizing on a well-established literature on informant discrepancy as an index of contextual variability, research suggests that differing parent and teacher perceptions may impact treatment or education-related outcomes. A prior investigation by Lerner and colleagues suggests that parent-teacher discrepancies in ASD symptom ratings define discrete and clinically meaningful subgroups. However, replication in a larger sample is important to support the validity and utility of the subgroups for use in research and practice. Method: The present paper used latent profile analysis (LPA) to (1) replicate the previous study by Lerner and colleagues in a larger sample of 514 clinic-referred autistic youth (aged 6-18, 83.2% male, 90.4% White, IQ 19-140) and (2) determine if parent-teacher informant discrepancies relate to clinical and functional correlates. We hypothesized that parent-teacher discrepancies in ASD symptom severity ratings would validly characterize ASD subgroups and predict clinical and functional correlates. Results: The results of the LPA supported a 4-profile solution made up of two parent-teacher agreement groups (high parent-teacher, 21.2%, and low parent-teacher, 34.2%) and two parent-teacher discrepancy groups (high parent-low teacher, 18.1%, and moderate parent-high teacher, 26.5%), replicating findings from Lerner and colleagues. Latent profile membership differentially predicted IQ, age, and educational outcomes of participants. Conclusions: Unique, clinically useful information about the taxonomy and impact of ASD is obtained by considering informant discrepancies in symptom severity ratings, which underscores the importance of considering contextual variability assessed through multiple informants.
|Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
|Accepted/In press - 2022