Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 11, pp 2584–2603 | Cite as

A Review of the Role of Female Gender in Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Melissa KirkovskiEmail author
  • Peter G. Enticott
  • Paul B. Fitzgerald
Original Paper


This paper reviews the literature exploring gender differences associated with the clinical presentation of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The potentially mediating effect of comorbid psychopathology, biological and neurodevelopmental implications on these gender differences is also discussed. A vastly heterogeneous condition, while females on the lower-functioning end of the spectrum appear to be more severely affected, an altered clinical manifestation of the disorder among high-functioning females may consequently result in many being un or misdiagnosed. To date, there is strong bias in the literature towards the clinical presentation of ASD in males. It is imperative that future research explores gender differences across the autism spectrum, in order to improve researchers’, clinicians’ and the publics’ understanding of this debilitating disorder.


Gender Symptomatology Diagnosis Etiology 



Paul B. Fitzgerald has received equipment for research from Medtronic Ltd, MagVenture A/S and Brainsway Ltd. He has undertaken research with funding and equipment from Cervel Neurotech. He is supported by a NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship. Peter G. Enticott is supported by a NHMRC Clinical Research Fellowship.

Supplementary material

10803_2013_1811_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (315 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 314 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Kirkovski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter G. Enticott
    • 1
  • Paul B. Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, The Alfred and Central Clinical SchoolMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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