Potentially Reversible Social Deficits Among Transgender Youth


Recently, there has been increased attention to a putative relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and gender dysphoria, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) diagnosis for those whose gender assigned at birth does not match their gender identity. Studies have shown an over-representation of ASD symptoms among transgender youth. These studies, however, have used scales that are non-specific for ASD. These ASD symptoms may represent social deficits that are secondary to social stress and deprivation, as transgender youth suffer high rates of peer and family rejection. These social deficits may not represent true ASD and may be reversible as patients are affirmed in their gender identities and social stress is reduced.

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The author thanks Christopher McDougle MD, Massachusetts General Hospital for his thoughtful comments on this letter to the editor.

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Correspondence to Jack L. Turban.

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Dr. Turban declares that he has no potential conflicts of interest.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Turban, J.L. Potentially Reversible Social Deficits Among Transgender Youth. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 4007–4009 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3603-0

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  • Autism
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Transgender youth
  • Quasi-autism
  • Social deficits