Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1304–1313

Sex Differences in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from a Large Sample of Children and Adolescents

Authors

    • Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health PsychologyUniversity College London
  • Rebecca Chilvers
    • Institute of PsychiatryKings College
  • Uttom Chowdhury
    • Bedfordshire CAMHS, South Essex Partnership NHS Trust
  • Gemma Salter
    • Institute of Child HealthBehavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, University College London
  • Anna Seigal
    • Institute of Child HealthBehavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, University College London
  • David Skuse
    • Institute of Child HealthBehavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, University College London
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1356-0

Cite this article as:
Mandy, W., Chilvers, R., Chowdhury, U. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 1304. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1356-0

Abstract

Sex differences have been found amongst toddlers and young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We investigated the presence and stability of these ASD sex differences throughout childhood and adolescence. Participants (N = 325, 52 females; aged 3–18 years) consecutively received an ASD diagnosis at a clinic for assessing high-functioning ASD (mean verbal IQ = 92.6). There were no IQ sex differences. By parent report and direct observation, females had less repetitive stereotyped behaviour (RSB), with male-equivalent levels of social and communication impairment. Teachers reported males with ASD as having greater externalising and social problems than females. The female phenotype we describe was stable across our sample’s age range. Their milder RSBs and less severe difficulties at school may lead to under-recognition of ASD in females.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorderPervasive developmental disorderSex differencesHigh-functioningComorbidity

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011