Background: Anomalies in visual and auditory perception represent an important aspect of the symptomatic manifestation of schizophrenia (ScZ). However, there are currently no instruments available that allow the assessment of the full range of auditory and visual abnormalities using a self-report measure. Methods: We developed the 85-item Audio-Visual Abnormalities Questionnaire (AVAQ) to assess abnormalities in auditory and visual processing. The AVAQ was validated in an online-sample of 355 healthy participants to establish the factorial structure, internal consistency and reliability of the instrument. In addition, participants completed the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) to establish convergent validity regarding autistic and schizotypal traits. Results: High internal consistency was observed for the total AVAQ-scale (α = 0.99) as well as for the visual (α = 0.98), auditory (α = 0.96) and the audio-visual subscales (α = 0.83). Principal component analyses demonstrated one factor comprising 78 items. The AVAQ was positively correlated with the SPQ (r = 0.69, p <.001) as well as the AQ (r = 0.38, p <.001). Correlations with the SPQ were highest for unusual perceptual experiences (r = 0.72, p <.001) and lowest for social anxiety (r = 0.30, p <.001). Conclusion: The AVAQ demonstrated excellent reliability, internal consistency and construct validity. Accordingly, the instrument could be useful for characterizing sensory dysfunctions across the schizophrenia spectrum that could guide interventions as well as aid the development of biomarkers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Basic symptoms
- Sensory processing