This study reports on the development and validation of an abridged version of the 50-item Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a self-report measure of autistic traits. We aimed to reduce the number of items whilst retaining high validity and a meaningful factor structure. The item reduction procedure was performed on data from 1,263 Dutch students and general population adults. The resulting 28-item AQ-Short was subsequently validated in 3 independent samples, both clinical and controls, from the Netherlands and the UK. The AQ-Short comprises two higher-order factors assessing 'social behavioral difficulties' and 'a fascination for numbers/patterns'. The clear factor structure of the AQ-Short and its high sensitivity and specificity make the AQ-Short a useful alternative to the full 50-item version. © 2010 The Author(s).