An illustration of Silvana holding a sign that says ‘EDA-Q’.

The EDA-QA

The Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire for Adults (EDA-QA) is a self-administered questionnaire that measures traits and behaviours related to Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) in adults (age 18+) with IQ in the normal range (IQ >=80).

 

Dr. Natalie’s rating: 5 stars for appropriate and respectful wording, 2 stars for clarity & lack of ambiguity, and 5 stars for testing accuracy.

 

Take the test here:


Who the test is designed for


What it tests

The EDA-QA was developed to measure behaviours in clinical accounts of extreme/pathological demand avoidance.

In 2003, PDA was proposed as a separate entity within the pervasive developmental disorders, instead of being classed under pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS),[2]Pathological demand avoidance syndrome: a necessary distinction within the pervasive developmental disorders (Newson, Le Maréchal & David, 2003) but it’s still considered to be an offshoot of the autism spectrum. Like autism, PDA is a spectrum.


Versions & translations

Non-adults versions are also available:


Taking the test

The EDA consists of 26 statements, giving you 4 choices for each statement:

  1. Not True
  2. Somewhat True
  3. Mostly True
  4. Very True

Scoring

  • Scoring range: 0–78
  • Threshold score: 45
    • Scores 45 or greater indicate you show a high risk of showing features of PDA.
    • Lower scores mean you likely do not.

You can take the test using two methods of scoring:

  1. Self-scoring, if you want documentation of your answers.
  2. Automated scoring (coming soon).

How to generate a total score of the EDA-QA:

Questions 1–26 (apart from questions 14 and 20):

  • Not true = 0
  • Somewhat true = 1
  • Mostly true = 2
  • Very true = 3

Questions 14 & 20:

  • Not true = 3
  • Somewhat true = 2
  • Mostly true = 1
  • Very true = 0

Validity

How reliable, accurate, valid, and up to date is the test?

The EDA-QA is a 26-item self-report adaptation of the observer-rated Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire (EDA-Q) for use with adult populations.[3]Development of the ‘Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire’ (EDA-Q): preliminary observations on a trait measure for Pathological Demand Avoidance (O’Nions et al., 2013)


An illustration of Natalie pointing to the title ‘Discussion’.

Discussion

Dr. Natalie:

  • The test was quick and easy; however, I found some questions a challenge to interpret. Also, I found the wording pathology-based—words like complain, obsessively, and outrageous. That may skew people’s answers, compared to if the wording was more neutral.
  • Some of the questions may pertain more to children, and it should be noted that this test is adapted from the children’s version. This can be seen in questions about temper tantrums, which may appear as swearing rather than throwing ourselves on the floor in public places.
  • I scored 32, which is below the threshold. This made sense to me, as the test is shown to have good sensitivity (the number of people who have the disorder and are identified by the test). The test is also shown to have good specificity (the number of people who do not have the disorder and are identified as not having the disorder by the test).
  • The test is quick to take and easy to self-score.

Martin:

We noticed that perhaps particularly for autistic people, there is a distinct risk of misinterpreting the statements on this test. I sure did. Based on what I understood PDA to be, I felt I probably have it to a degree. But the more research I read on PDA, the more I realize how significantly I misunderstood it. And indeed, I don’t have it; I scored only 13 on the test, which is far below the threshold.

So to avoid the potential of other people misinterpreting the test or PDA itself, below is a list of feedback we received on what autistics felt would make the test clearer, and my responses to their suggestions, based on my understanding of the research literature.

While PDA is defined as being on the autism spectrum, there are some major differences between the two. I suspect that because we tend to experience overwhelm and executive challenges (avoiding things that stress us, or perpetually putting things off), we identify strongly with the name Demand Avoidance. But the condition is much more than what the name suggests. It actually looks quite a bit like a cluster C personality disorder with some cluster B features (i.e. BPD and histrionic). So be careful with how you interpret the statements of the EDA-QA.

But also be aware that PDA constitutes a spectrum, so you would also find people with mild presentations. Presumably, they would receive a lower score on the test. But you would have to score 45 or higher to potentially qualify for a PDA diagnosis.


Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire for Adults

Please answer the questions thinking about your behaviour during the last six months. Please read each item carefully and fill in the answer that best applies. For each question, you can choose from four possible options: ‘Not’, ‘Somewhat true’, ‘Mostly true’ and ‘Very True’. Please fill in all items. There are no right or wrong answers.


Recommended next steps

After the AQ, the tests below are suggested.

RAADS-R

Identifies adults who “escape diagnosis”
due to a subclinical level presentation

 

Aspie Quiz 

Identifies neurodiversity and potential co-occurring conditions

 

Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire 

Measures social camouflaging behaviours in adults

 

Online autism tests can play an essential role in self-discovery and may inform your decision to pursue a formal diagnosis. For a formal assessment, please see a knowledgeable professional trained in assessing autism.


Embrace ASD | The EDA-QA | icon Diagnosis

If you are looking for an autism assessment,
have a look at the following post:

Online autism assessments

Adult Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire (EDA-QA), Avoidance, Borderline personality disorder (BPD), Boundary violation, Cluster B personality disorders, Cluster C personality disorders, Cronbach’s alpha, Disinhibition, Elizabeth O’Nions, Emotional lability, Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire (EDA-Q), Francesca Happé, Histrionic personality disorder (HPD), Irresponsibility, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Psychological manipulation, Psychometric test, Social awareness, Social boundaries


Dr. Natalie, Martin & Kendall

Dr. Natalie, Martin & Kendall

Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht RP ND is a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor and a Canadian leader in trauma and PTSD, and she happens to be autistic.Martin Silvertant is ironically a silver award-winning graphic designer, type designer, autism researcher, and more. He was diagnosed at 25.Kendall Jones is a musician and sound engineer from Louisiana, with an affinity for both music and language. He was diagnosed late in life, at 61.

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