A preliminary investigation into the potential role of waist hip ratio (WHR) preference within the assortative mating hypothesis of autistic spectrum disorders

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Abstract

Of particular interest to studying the etiology of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is the potential for multiple risk factors to combine through non-random mechanisms—assortative mating. Both genetic influences and a high-testosterone prenatal environment have been implicated in the etiology of ASDs, and given that waist-hip ratio (WHR) is indicative of a woman’s circulating testosterone level, a man attracted to higher-than-average WHR women is likely to have a higher-than-average prenatal testosterone exposure for their offspring. We show that whereas fathers of children without ASD show a statistically reliable preference for WHRs at the low end of the normal range, indicative of women with low testosterone levels, fathers of children diagnosed with ASD do not consistently show this preference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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Waist-Hip Ratio
Autistic Disorder
Testosterone
Fathers
Reference Values

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title = "A preliminary investigation into the potential role of waist hip ratio (WHR) preference within the assortative mating hypothesis of autistic spectrum disorders",
abstract = "Of particular interest to studying the etiology of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is the potential for multiple risk factors to combine through non-random mechanisms—assortative mating. Both genetic influences and a high-testosterone prenatal environment have been implicated in the etiology of ASDs, and given that waist-hip ratio (WHR) is indicative of a woman’s circulating testosterone level, a man attracted to higher-than-average WHR women is likely to have a higher-than-average prenatal testosterone exposure for their offspring. We show that whereas fathers of children without ASD show a statistically reliable preference for WHRs at the low end of the normal range, indicative of women with low testosterone levels, fathers of children diagnosed with ASD do not consistently show this preference.",
author = "M Brosnan and I Walker",
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AU - Walker, I

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AB - Of particular interest to studying the etiology of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is the potential for multiple risk factors to combine through non-random mechanisms—assortative mating. Both genetic influences and a high-testosterone prenatal environment have been implicated in the etiology of ASDs, and given that waist-hip ratio (WHR) is indicative of a woman’s circulating testosterone level, a man attracted to higher-than-average WHR women is likely to have a higher-than-average prenatal testosterone exposure for their offspring. We show that whereas fathers of children without ASD show a statistically reliable preference for WHRs at the low end of the normal range, indicative of women with low testosterone levels, fathers of children diagnosed with ASD do not consistently show this preference.

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