Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 840–852 | Cite as

Narratives of Girls and Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Gender Differences in Narrative Competence and Internal State Language

  • Christina Kauschke
  • Bettina van der Beek
  • Inge Kamp-Becker
Original Paper

Abstract

Since gender differences in the symptomatology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are not well understood, the current study examines the communicative skills of males and females with ASD. Narrative competence and internal state language (ISL) was investigated using narrations elicited by a wordless picture book. 11 girls and 11 boys with ASD and 11 typically developing girls were individually matched. Although results demonstrate largely comparable narrative skills across groups, the groups differed with respect to the size and use of ISL: Girls with ASD verbalized and motivated internal states more often than boys, and both groups with ASD fell behind typically developing children in production of affective words. Implications for the clinical presentation of males and females with ASD are discussed.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders Communication Narratives Internal state language Gender Coherence Cohesion 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Anna-Lena Rumpf and Rhea Eghtesadinia for their help in transcribing and coding the data, Michael Vesker for comments on language and style, as well as the institutions and subjects for participating in this study.

Author contributions

CK conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination and drafted the manuscript; BvdB participated in the design and coordination of the study, performed the measurement and the statistical analysis and helped to draft the manuscript; IKB conceived of the study, and participated in its design and coordination and helped to perform the statistical analysis and to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

References

  1. Adams, S., Kuebli, J., Boyle, P. A., & Fivush, R. (1995). Gender differences in parent-child conversations about past emotions: A longitudinal investigation. Sex Roles, 33(5–6), 309–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition: DSM 5. Washington DC, London: American Psychiatric Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Babar, A., Baird, S., Lang, B., Ortlieb, A., & Schneider, P. (2013). Children’s expression of emotional and cognitive mental states in their story generation from pictures. Presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assn. Convention, Chicago, IL. http://www.rehabresearch.ualberta.ca/enni/sites/default/files/ASHA2013handout.doc
  4. Baird, G., Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., Meldrum, D., & Charman, T. (2006). Prevalence of disorders of the autism spectrum in a population cohort of children in South Thames: the Special Needs and Autism Project (SNAP). The Lancet, 368(9531), 210–215. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69041-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnes, J. L., Lombardo, M. V., Wheelwright, S., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2009). Moral dilemmas film task: A study of spontaneous narratives by individuals with autism spectrum conditions. Autism Research, 2(3), 148–156. doi: 10.1002/aur.79.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Beaumont, R., & Newcombe, P. (2006). Theory of mind and central coherence in adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 10(4), 365–382. doi: 10.1177/1362361306064416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Begeer, S., Mandell, D., Wijnker-Holmes, B., Venderbosch, S., Rem, D., Stekelenburg, F., & Koot, H. M. (2013). Sex differences in the timing of identification among children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(5), 1151–1156. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1656-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bölte, S., Rühl, D., Schmötzer, G., & Poustka, F. (2006). Diagnostisches Interview für AutismusRevidiert (1st ed.). http://www.verlag-hanshuber.com/index.php/diagnostisches-interview-fuer-autismus-revidiert.html
  9. Bosacki, S. L. (2000). Theory of mind and self-concept in preadolescents: Links with gender and language. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4), 709–717. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.92.4.709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bosacki, S., & Wilde Astington, J. (1999). Theory of mind in preadolescence: Relations between social understanding and social competence. Social Development, 8(2), 237–255. doi: 10.1111/1467-9507.00093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bretherton, I., & Beeghly, M. (1982). Talking about internal states: The acquisition of an explicit theory of mind. Developmental Psychology, 18(6), 906–921. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.18.6.906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bretherton, I., Fritz, J., Zahn-Waxler, C., & Ridgeway, D. (1986). Learning to talk about emotions: A functionalist perspective. Child Development, 57(3), 529. doi: 10.2307/1130334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown, H. M., & Klein, P. D. (2011). Writing, Asperger syndrome and theory of mind. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(11), 1464–1474. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1168-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Brown, B. T., Morris, G., Nida, R. E., & Baker-Ward, L. (2012). Brief report: Making experience personal—Internal states language in the memory narratives of children with and without Asperger’s disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(3), 441–446. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1246-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Buckner, J. P., & Fivush, R. (1998). Gender and self in children’s autobiographical narratives. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 12(4), 407–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Capps, L., Losh, M., & Thurber, C. (2000). “The frog ate the bug and made his mouth sad”: Narrative competence in children with autism. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28(2), 193–204. doi: 10.1023/A:1005126915631.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Carter, C. S. (2007). Sex differences in oxytocin and vasopressin: Implications for autism spectrum disorders? Behavioural Brain Research, 176(1). http://www.rti.org/publications/abstract.cfm?pubid=19609
  18. Cervantes, C. A., & Callanan, M. A. (1998). Labels and explanations in mother-child emotion talk: Age and gender differentiation. Developmental Psychology, 34(1), 88–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Charman, T., Ruffman, T., & Clements, W. (2002). Is there a gender difference in false belief development? Social Development, 11(1), 1–10. doi: 10.1111/1467-9507.00183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cheslack-Postava, K., & Jordan-Young, R. M. (2012). Autism spectrum disorders: Toward a gendered embodiment model. Social Science and Medicine, 74(11), 1667–1674.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Colle, L., Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., & van der Lely, H. K. J. (2008). Narrative discourse in adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(1), 28–40. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0357-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Crane, L., Goddard, L., & Pring, L. (2010). Brief report: Self-defining and everyday autobiographical memories in adults with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(3), 383–391. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0875-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Diehl, J. J., Bennetto, L., & Young, E. C. (2006). Story recall and narrative coherence of high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34(1), 83–98. doi: 10.1007/s10802-005-9003-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dworzynski, K., Ronald, A., Bolton, P., & Happé, F. (2012). How different are girls and boys above and below the diagnostic threshold for autism spectrum disorders? Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Available online 26 June 2012.Google Scholar
  25. Elsabbagh, M., Divan, G., Koh, Y.-J., Kim, Y. S., Kauchali, S., Marcin, C., & Fombonne, E. (2012). Global prevalence of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Autism Research, 5(3), 160–179. doi: 10.1002/aur.239.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Ely, R., Gleason, J. B., Narasimhan, B., & McCabe, A. (1995). Family talk about talk: Mothers lead the way. Discourse Processes, 19(2), 201–218. doi: 10.1080/01638539509544914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. García-Pérez, R. M., Hobson, R. P., & Lee, A. (2008). Narrative role-taking in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(1), 156–168. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0379-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Grimshaw, G. M., Bulman-Fleming, M. B., & Ngo, C. (2004). A signal-detection analysis of sex differences in the perception of emotional faces. Brain and Cognition, 54(3), 248–250. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2004.02.029.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Hartley, S. L., & Sikora, D. M. (2009). Sex differences in autism spectrum disorder: An examination of developmental functioning, autistic symptoms, and coexisting behavior problems in toddlers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(12), 1715–1722. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0810-8.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Hoffmann, L. (1989). Zur Bestimmung von Erzählfähigkeit am Beispiel zweitsprachlichen Erzählens. In Erzähl-Erwerb (Vol. 8, pp. 63–88). Bern, Frankfurt/M., New York, Paris: Lang. http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=6960
  31. Holtmann, M., Bölte, S., & Poustka, F. (2007). Autism spectrum disorders: sex differences in autistic behaviour domains and coexisting psychopathology. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(5), 361–366. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2007.00361.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Hughes, C., & Dunn, J. (1998). Understanding mind and emotion: longitudinal associations with mental-state talk between young friends. Developmental Psychology, 34(5), 1026–1037.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hughes, C., & Dunn, J. (2002). “When I say a naughty word”. A longitudinal study of young children’s accounts of anger and sadness in themselves and close others. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20(4), 515–535. doi: 10.1348/026151002760390837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kaland, N., Callesen, K., Møller-Nielsen, A., Mortensen, E. L., et al. (2008). Performance of children and adolescents with asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism on advanced theory of mind tasks. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(6), 1112–1123.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Kauschke, C., & Klann-Delius, G. (1997). The acquisition of verbal expressions for internal states in German. A descriptive, explorative, longitudinal study. In S. Niemeier & R. Dirven (Eds.), The language of emotions. Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar
  36. Kirkovski, M., Enticott, P. G., & Fitzgerald, P. B. (2013). A review of the role of female gender in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 43, 2584.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Klann-Delius, G. (2005). Sprache und Geschlecht: Eine Einführung. Stuttgart: Metzler, JB.Google Scholar
  38. Klin, A. (2000). Attributing social meaning to ambiguous visual stimuli in higher-functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome: The social attribution task. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41(7), 831–846. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00671.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Kohls, G., Chevallier, C., Troiani, V., & Schultz, R. T. (2012). Social “wanting” dysfunction in autism: Neurobiological underpinnings and treatment implications. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 4(1), 10. doi: 10.1186/1866-1955-4-10.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Koll-Stobbe, A. (1989). Erwerb von Erzählkultur: Bildererzählen. In Erzähl-Erwerb (Vol. 8, pp. 132–146). Bern, Frankfurt/M., New York, Paris: Lang. http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=6960
  41. Kristen, S., Chiarella, S., Sodian, B., Aureli, T., Genco, M., & Poulin-Dubois, D. (2014). Crosslinguistic developmental consistency in the composition of toddlers’ internal state vocabulary: Evidence from four languages. Child Development Research, 2014, 1–8. doi: 10.1155/2014/575142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kristen, S., Sodian, B., Licata, M., Thoermer, C., & Poulin-Dubois, D. (2012). The development of internal state language during the third year of life: A longitudinal parent report study—Internal state language vocabulary in the third year of life. Infant and Child Development, 21(6), 634–645. doi: 10.1002/icd.1767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kuebli, J., Butler, S., & Fivush, R. (1995). Mother-child talk about past emotions: Relations of maternal language and child gender over time. Cognition and Emotion, 9(2–3), 265–283. doi: 10.1080/02699939508409011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kuebli, J., & Fivush, R. (1992). Gender differences in parent-child conversations about past emotions. Sex Roles, 27(11–12), 683–698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Labov, W., & Waletzky, J. (1967). Narrative analysis: Oral versions of personal experience. In J. Helm (Ed.), Essays on the verbal and visual arts. Seattle/London: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  46. Lai, M. C., Lombardo, M., Auyeung, B., Chakrabarti, B., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2014). Sex/gender differences and autism: Setting the scene for future research. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54, 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lai, M.-C., Lombardo, M. V., Pasco, G., Ruigrok, A. N. V., Wheelwright, S. J., Sadek, S. A., et al. (2011). A behavioral comparison of male and female adults with high functioning autism spectrum conditions. PLoS One, 6(6), e20835. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020835.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Lai, M. C., Lombardo, M. V., Suckling, J., Ruigrok, A. N., Chakrabarti, B., Ecker, C., et al. (2013). Biological sex affects the neurobiology of autism. Brain, 136(Pt 9), 2799–2815.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E., Leventhal, B., DiLavore, P., & Rutter, M. (2000). Autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  50. Losh, M., & Capps, L. (2003). Narrative ability in high-functioning children with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33(3), 239–251.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Losh, M., & Gordon, P. C. (2014). Quantifying narrative ability in autism spectrum disorder: A computational linguistic analysis of narrative coherence. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders,. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2158-y.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Lugnegård, T., Hallerbäck, M. U., & Gillberg, C. (2011). Psychiatric comorbidity in young adults with a clinical diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32(5), 1910–1917. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.03.025.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Mandy, W., Chilvers, R., Chowdhury, U., Salter, G., Seigal, A., & Skuse, D. (2012). Sex differences in autism spectrum disorder: Evidence from a large sample of children and adolescents. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(7), 1304–1313. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1356-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. McCabe, A., Hillier, A., & Shapiro, C. (2013). Brief report: Structure of personal narratives of adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(3), 733–738.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. McClure, E. B. (2000). A meta-analytic review of sex differences in facial expression processing and their development in infants, children, and adolescents. Psychological Bulletin, 126(3), 424–453. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.126.3.424.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. McLennan, J. D., Lord, C., & Schopler, E. (1993). Sex differences in higher functioning people with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 23(2), 217–227. doi: 10.1007/BF01046216.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. McWhinney, B. C. (2000). The CHILDES project: Tools for analysing talk (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  58. Miranda, A., Baixauli, I., & Colomer, C. (2013). Narrative writing competence and internal state terms of young adults clinically diagnosed with childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(6), 1938–1950. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2013.03.014.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Niedźwieńska, A. (2003). Gender differences in vivid memories. Sex Roles, 49(7–8), 321–331.Google Scholar
  60. Norbury, C. F., & Bishop, D. V. M. (2003). Narrative skills of children with communication impairments. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 38(3), 287–313. doi: 10.1080/136820310000108133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Petermann, F., & Petermann, U. (2008). Hamburg-Wechsler-Intelligenztest für Kinder—IV. Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  62. Peterson, C., & Biggs, M. (2001). “i was really, really, really mad!” children’s use of evaluative devices in narratives about emotional events. Sex Roles, 45(11–12), 801–825. doi: 10.1023/A:1015692403932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Remschmidt, H., & Kamp-Becker, I. (2006). Asperger-syndrom (Auflage: 2006). Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rühl, D., Bölte, S., Feineis-Matthews, S., & Poustka, F. (2004). ADOS: Diagnostische Beobachtungsskala für Autisitsche Störungen. Bern: Huber.Google Scholar
  65. Rumpf, A.-L., Kamp-Becker, I., Becker, K., & Kauschke, C. (2012). Narrative competence and internal state language of children with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(5), 1395–1407. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.03.007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Schmidlin, R. (1999). Wie deutschschweizer Kinder schreiben und erzählen lernen: Textstruktur und Lexik von Kindertexten aus der Deutschschweiz und aus Deutschland. Tübingen: Francke.Google Scholar
  67. Schulkind, M., Schoppel, K., & Scheiderer, E. (2012). Gender differences in autobiographical narratives: He shoots and scores; she evaluates and interprets. Memory & Cognition, 40(6), 958–965. doi: 10.3758/s13421-012-0197-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Senju, A. (2012). Spontaneous theory of mind and its absence in autism spectrum disorders. The Neuroscientist, 18(2), 108–113. doi: 10.1177/1073858410397208.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Shatz, M., Wellman, H. M., & Silber, S. (1983). The acquisition of mental verbs: A systematic investigation of the first reference to mental state. Cognition, 14(3), 301–321. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(83)90008-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Siller, M., Swanson, M. R., Serlin, G., & Teachworth, A. G. (2014). Internal state language in the storybook narratives of children with and without autism spectrum disorder: Investigating relations to theory of mind abilities. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(5), 589–596. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.02.002.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Solomon, M., Miller, M., Taylor, S. L., Hinshaw, S. P., & Carter, C. S. (2012). Autism symptoms and internalizing psychopathology in girls and boys with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(1), 48–59. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1215-z.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Tager-Flusberg, H. (1992). Autistic children’s talk about psychological states: Deficits in the early acquisition of a theory of mind. Child Development, 63(1), 161–172.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Tager-Flusberg, H. (1995). “Once upon a ribbit”: Stories narrated by autistic children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 13(1), 45–59. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.1995.tb00663.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tager-Flusberg, H., & Sullivan, K. (1995). Attributing mental states to story characters: A comparison of narratives produced by autistic and mentally retarded individuals. Applied Psycholinguistics, 16(03), 241–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Van Wijngaarden-Cremers, P. J. M., van Eeten, E., Groen, W. B., Van Deurzen, P. A., Oosterling, I. J., & Van der Gaag, R. J. (2014). Gender and age differences in the core triad of impairments in autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(3), 627–635. doi: 10.1007/s10803-013-1913-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Von Aster, M., Neubauer, A., & Horn, R. (2006). Wechsler-Intelligenztest für Erwachsene (WIE). Frankfurt/M: Harcourt Test Service.Google Scholar
  77. Weiß, R. (2006). Grundintelligenztest Skala 2: Revision (CFT 20-R) mit Wortschatztest und Zahlenfolgentest—Revision (WS/ZF-R). Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  78. Wiesner, D. (1991). Tuesday. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Kauschke
    • 1
  • Bettina van der Beek
    • 1
  • Inge Kamp-Becker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of German Linguistics, Clinical LinguisticsUniversity of MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and PsychotherapyUniversity of MarburgMarburgGermany

Personalised recommendations