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 KauschkeEmail author
  • Bettina van der Beek
  • Inge Kamp-Becker
Original Paper


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.


Autism spectrum disorders Communication Narratives Internal state language Gender Coherence Cohesion 



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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Kauschke
    • 1
    Email author
  • 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

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