, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 399-420
Date: 15 Mar 2011

Gender Differences in Core Symptomatology in Autism Spectrum Disorders across the Lifespan

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Abstract

Although gender disparity in ASD has been long documented, research addressing gender related to core ASD symptomatology (e.g., domains, severity, breadth, etc.) is scant. The present research examined gender differences in ASD symptomatology in three populations: infants and toddlers at risk for developmental disability, children and adolescents, and adults with intellectual disability (ID). No significant gender differences in ASD symptoms were found in the infant/toddler or child/adolescent populations. In the adult population, in participants with ID alone, females had higher endorsements of social (i.e., participation in social games, sports, and activities; interest in other’s side of the conversation; and imitation) and communication (i.e., interest in other’s side of the conversation and reading body language) impairments compared to males. This study has considerable implications in both the clinical and research realms as for diagnostic and assessment validity and prioritized treatment needs for females with ASD, as well as stimulating a future research agenda (i.e., considerations such as cognitive ability, comorbidity, course and age, qualitative symptom differences, social/environmental gender biases) in this area.