Title page for ETD etd-06242010-205201

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Rivet, Tessa Taylor
Author's Email Address tessatr@gmail.com
URN etd-06242010-205201
Title Gender Differences In Core Symptomatology In Autism Spectrum Disorders Across The Lifespan
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Matson, Johnny L. Committee Chair
Copeland, Amy L. Committee Member
Elliott, Emily M. Committee Member
Gouvier, William Drew Committee Member
Kunduk, Melda Dean's Representative
  • autism
  • gender
Date of Defense 2010-06-10
Availability unrestricted
A preponderance of males with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been evident since the initial writings on the topic. This male predominance has consistently emerged in all ASD research to date in epidemiological as well as clinical populations. Despite this long recognized gender disparity in ASD, surprisingly there is a paucity of research addressing gender as it relates to core ASD symptom presentation. Gender differences may manifest with regard to symptom domains, severity, breadth, and so forth. The present research examined gender differences in ASD symptomatology in three populations: infants and toddlers at risk for developmental disability, children and adolescents, and adults with intellectual disability (ID). No significant gender differences in ASD symptoms were found in the infant/toddler or child/adolescent populations. In the adult population, in participants with ID alone, females had higher endorsements of social (i.e., participation in social games, sports, and activities; interest in otherís side of the conversation; and imitation) and communication (i.e., interest in other's side of the conversation and reading body language) impairments compared to males. This study has considerable implications in both the clinical and research realms regarding identification and intervention issues for females with ASD, as well as stimulating a future research agenda in this area.
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