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August 25, 2023

The EDA-8

Last updated on November 18, 2023

The Extreme Demand Avoidance 8-item measure (EDA-8) is a parent-administered questionnaire that measures traits and behaviours related to Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) in children (ages 5–17).

Basic information
Statements: 8
Duration: 2–5 minutes
Type: screening tool
Authors: Elizabeth O’Nions, Francesca Happé, Essi Viding & Ilse Noens
Publishing year: 2021
Seminal paper: Extreme Demand Avoidance in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Refinement of a Caregiver-Report Measure (O’Nions et al., 2021)

 

Take the test here:


Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht’s rating: 5 stars for appropriate and respectful wording, 5 stars for clarity & lack of ambiguity, and 4 stars for testing accuracy.Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht’s rating: 5 stars for appropriate and respectful wording, 5 stars for clarity & lack of ambiguity, and 4 stars for testing accuracy.

While the testing accuracy is adequate when EDA characteristics are at modest levels, at high levels, a more in-depth measurement is needed.[1]Extreme Demand Avoidance 8-item measure (EDA-8) | PDA Society


Who the test is designed for


What it tests

The EDA-8 is an 8-item revised measure 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)[4]Extreme Demand Avoidance in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Refinement of a Caregiver-Report Measure (O’Nions et al., 2021) It’s designed to measure behaviours in clinical accounts of extreme/pathological demand avoidance. But note that it’s intended to measure EDA traits for research purposes, and is not a diagnostic instrument.[5]Extreme Demand Avoidance 8-item measure (EDA-8) | PDA Society

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),[6]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. Having said that, some argue that it should be separated from autism.[7]Is Pathological Demand Avoidance a “meaningful subgroup” of autism? (Woods, 2021)


Versions & translations

A version for adults is also available. The Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire for Adults (EDA-QA) contains 26 items. You can take it here:


Taking the test

The EDA-8 consists of 8 statements, giving you 4 choices for each statement:

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

Scoring

  • Scoring range: 0–24
  • Threshold score: 19
    • Scores over 19 could indicate the need for more in-depth measurement of EDA, but do not necessarily suggest a PDA-profile.[8]Extreme Demand Avoidance 8-item measure (EDA-8) | PDA Society

All items are scored as follows:

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

You can take the test using two methods of scoring:

  1. Self-scoring, if you want documentation of your answers
  2. EDA-8

Limitations

Research shows that the EDA-8 scale can measure the severity of EDA characteristics well at modest levels. At high levels, a more in-depth measurement is needed.[9]Extreme Demand Avoidance 8-item measure (EDA-8) | PDA Society


Validity

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

The EDA-8 showed good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = .90), and convergent and divergent validity with other measures.[10]Extreme Demand Avoidance in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Refinement of a Caregiver-Report Measure (O’Nions et al., 2021) In terms of convergent validity, the correlations between the EDA-8 and the following other conceptually relevant measures were calculated:

  • Emotion Dysregulation Inventory (EDI): Reactivity — rs = .66
  • Demand-Specific Non-compliance (reactivity in routine contexts) — rs = .49
  • Socially Inflexible Non-compliance (reactivity in less routine, or more social situations) — rs = .57

Do note that the validity of pathological demand avoidance itself is taken into question by some, arguing that it can be seen as an attempt to pathologize autistic children’s resistance.[11]Pathological demand avoidance: What and who are being pathologised and in whose interests? (Moore, 2020) Also, some argue that it should be separated from autism.[12]Is Pathological Demand Avoidance a “meaningful subgroup” of autism? (Woods, 2021)


Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht pointing to the title ‘Discussion’.

Discussion

Eva:

While pathological/extreme demand avoidance 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 can actually look 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-8.


Extreme Demand Avoidance 8-item measure

Please answer the questions thinking about your child’s behaviour during the last six months. Please read each item carefully and fill in the answer that best applies.

1. Obsessively resists and avoids ordinary demands and requests.
2. Is driven by the need to be in charge.
3. Tells other children how they should behave, but does not feel these rules apply to him/herself.
4. Has difficulty complying with demands unless they are carefully presented.
5. Seems unaware of the differences between him/herself and authority figures (e.g. parents, teachers, police).
6. Mood changes very rapidly (e.g. switches from affectionate to angry in an instant).
7. Uses outrageous or shocking behaviour to get out of doing something.
8. Has bouts of extreme emotional responses to small events (e.g. crying/giggling, becoming furious).


Recommended next steps

After the EDA-8, consider taking one of the tests below.

RAADS–R

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

CAT-Q

Measures camouflaging, and can account
for lower scores on other autism tests

Aspie Quiz

Identifies neurodivergence and
potential co-occurring conditions

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


Embrace Autism | The EDA-8 | icon Diagnosis

If you are looking for an autism assessment,
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht can offer help!
You can find more information here:

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References

This article
was written by:
drengelbrecht-and-eva

Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht ND RP is a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor, and a Canadian leader in trauma and PTSD, and she happens to be autistic; she was diagnosed at 46.

Eva Silvertant is living up to her surname as a silver award-winning graphic designer. She also loves researching autism, astronomy, and typography. She was diagnosed with autism at 25.

Note: Eva is trans, and used to be Martin Silvertant.

Disclaimer

Although our content is generally well-researched
and substantiated, or based on personal experience,
note that it does not constitute medical advice.

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