Deficits in reciprocal social behavior are hallmarks of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), including Asperger’s Disorder and Autistic Disorder. There has recently been a tremendous upsurge in reported cases of PDD. However, it is unclear whether the true prevalence of PDD is increasing, whether detection of cases is improving, or whether milder deficits in social behavior are prompting diagnoses of PDD. An article by Constantino, Przybeck, Friesen, & Todd (2000) of Washington University School of Medicine describes a new research instrument, the Social Reciprocity Scale (SRS), for identifying impairments in reciprocal social behavior.
Findings with the SRS indicate that impairments in reciprocal social behavior fall along a continuum consistent with the notion of a “broader autistic phenotype” manifested by children whose deficits are less severe than those characterizing clearly autistic children. Constantino et al. found that the SRS had the following correlations with CBCL/4-18 scales in a clinical sample: CBCL Total Problems r = .67; Thought Problems r = .61; Social Problems r = .57; and Attention Problems r = .57. This suggests that these CBCL scales capture aspects of reciprocal social behavior like those captured by the SRS.
Reference: Constantino, J. N., Przybeck, T., Friesen, D., & Todd, R.D. (2000). Reciprocal social behavior in children with and without Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 21, 2-11.