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Brief Report: Sex/Gender Differences in Symptomology and Camouflaging in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Rachel K. Schuck
  • Ryan E. Flores
  • Lawrence K. FungEmail author
Brief Report

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is more prevalent in males than females. Previous research indicates females camouflage ASD symptoms more than males, potentially contributing to the difference in prevalence. This study investigated sex/gender differences in behavioral phenotypes in 17 males and 11 females with ASD, as well camouflaging in ASD, in an attempt to partially replicate findings from Lai et al. (Autism 21(6):690–702, 2017). Overall ASD symptoms were measured by the autism spectrum quotient (AQ). Mean AQ in females with ASD was higher than males with ASD, with the difference approaching statistical significance. Camouflaging was found to be more common in females with ASD, and not associated to social phobia. Furthermore, camouflaging correlated negatively with emotional expressivity in females, but not males, with ASD. These findings strengthen previous findings regarding camouflaging being more common in females and add to the literature on how camouflaging may be different in females versus males.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Sex/gender differences Camouflaging 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (K08MH111750; awarded to LKF). The authors would like to thank Mirko Uljarevic for providing input regarding statistical analyses.

Author Contributions

RKS carried out ADOS and ADI-R, performed statistical analyses, wrote the manuscript. REF performed participant recruitment and collected self-report and informant-based data. LKF designed the entire study, including neuropsychological assessments and data analyses; LKF secured funding of this study and supervised the writing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethics Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2019_3998_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 24 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel K. Schuck
    • 1
  • Ryan E. Flores
    • 1
  • Lawrence K. Fung
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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