Objectives: To translate, adapt, and validate a Spanish version of the MASC (MASC-SP) for use in patients with Asperger’s syndrome and individuals with typical development, with the ultimate goal of facilitating its administration to the Spanish-speaking community.
Methods: Firstly, a transcription and translation of the English version of the MASC was made. After professional dubbing and subsequent editing of the audiovisual instrument, the MASC was administered to a sample of twenty-two patients diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and twenty-six healthy volunteers. Other measures of social cognition were also administered: the Spanish version of the Strange Stories Task (Happé, 1994; Pousa, 2002), the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (Baron-Cohen et al., 2001a), and a basic facial emotion recognition task (Ekman & Friesen, 1971). We evaluated the MASC’s psychometric properties with special emphasis on whether or not the adaptation affects the capacity to discriminate between healthy individuals and patients diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Twenty-two individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (DSM-IV-TR) were recruited (3 women and 19 men; mean age 21.94, SD 6.69, range 16-41). Twenty-six healthy volunteers were also enrolled (9 women and 17 men; mean age 22.92, SD 4.8, range 18-33), matching the experimental group with respect to age, gender, and years of education. In order to ensure the cognitive performance of patients with Asperger’s syndrome, a brief scale for cognitive evaluation in psychiatric patients was administered (Screen for Cognitive Impairment in Psychiatry, SCIP; Purdon et al, 2005).
Results: The Asperger group scored lower on the MASC-SP (Mann-Whitney; p = 0.000), had fewer correct answers on the basic emotion recognition test (Mann-Whitney; p = 0.000), and poorer understanding of social situations per the Strange Stories Task (Mann-Whitney; p = 0.000) compared with the control group. The area under the ROC curves was 0.814 for the MASC-SP, 0.795 for the emotion recognition test, 0.912 for the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, and 0.806 for the Strange Stories Task. The Asperger group did not show cognitive deterioration and MASC-SP was proven to be independent for other general cognitive functions, as there was no significant correlation between MASC score and any of the SCIP subtests. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.86, demonstrating satisfactory internal reliability (> 0.80) very similar to the original instrument (0.84).
Conclusions: The Spanish adaptation of the MASC can be a useful, ecologically valid tool for assessing social cognition.
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