Gender Variance among Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Retrospective Chart Review

Aron Janssen*, Howard Huang, Christina Duncan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Increasing clinical evidence suggests an overrepresentation of gender variance (GV) among patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This retrospective chart review aims to contribute to the existing literature on co-occurring ASD and gender dysphoria (GD). We compare the rate of parent-reported GV in patients with an ASD diagnosis to that of parent-reported GV in a normative nonreferred data set. Methods: Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) charts were collected from 492 children and adolescents (409 natal males and 83 natal females) aged 6-18 years who have received a diagnosis of ASD at the New York University Child Study Center. Parent-reported GV was determined through endorsement of CBCL sex item 110, which assesses the presence of gender-related issues. We calculated the odds ratio of endorsement of item 110 between our ASD sample and the CBCL sample data. Results: The subjects diagnosed with ASD were 7.76 times more likely to report GV than the CBCL sample. This finding was statistically significant. About 5.1% of the patients in the ASD group and 0.7% of the CBCL nonreferred group endorsed sex item 110. 5.1% of natal males and 4.8% of natal females endorsed sex item 110. Neither gender nor age influenced the rate of endorsement. Conclusion: This finding supports the growing research suggesting a heightened co-occurrence rate of ASD and GD. Focus should be placed upon improving our understanding of the nature of this co-occurrence and on gender identity development within the atypical development of ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalTransgender Health
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • child and adolescent development
  • gender dysphoria
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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