Sex-typical Play: Masculinization/Defeminization in Girls with an Autism Spectrum Condition
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We tested the hypothesis that prenatal masculinization of the brain by androgens increases risk of developing an autism spectrum condition (ASC). Sex-typical play was measured in n = 66 children diagnosed with an ASC and n = 55 typically developing age-matched controls. Consistent with the hypothesis, girls with autism did not show the female-typical play preferences, though this was only seen on non-pretence items. Boys with autism showed a preference for male play on non-pretence items, in keeping with their sex. Girls with autism engaged in more pretend play than boys with autism, suggesting that pretence is relatively more protected in females with autism. We conclude that play preference studies in ASC provide partial support for the fetal androgen theory.
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- Sex-typical Play: Masculinization/Defeminization in Girls with an Autism Spectrum Condition
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume 38, Issue 6 , pp 1028-1035
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- Sex differences
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- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychiatry, Autism Research Center, University of Cambridge, Douglas House, Cambridge, UK
- 2. Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, CB #7160, 7023 Neurosciences Hospital, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599–7160, USA
- 3. Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA