Gender identity in autism: Sex differences in social affiliation with gender groups

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High rates of gender variance have been reported in autistic people, with higher variance in autistic females than males. The social component of gender identity may be affected, with autistic females experiencing lower identification with and feeling less positively about their gender groups than controls. We measured gender identification, gender self-esteem, and aspects of gender expression (masculinity and femininity) in autistic natal males and females, and controls (N = 486). We found that autistic people had lower gender identification and gender self-esteem than controls, and autistic natal females had lower gender identification than autistic natal males and natal female controls. In conclusion, autistic people, particularly natal females, had lower social identification with and more negative feelings about a gender group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3995-4006
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number12
Early online date28 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2018


  • Adults
  • Autism
  • Gender
  • Self-esteem
  • Sex differences
  • Social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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