Contemporary Complexities in Transgender Care: Disentangling the Intersections Among Gender Diversity, Autism, and Mental Health

Research output: PhD ThesisPhd-Thesis - Research and graduation internal


Over the past decades, the fields of both transgender and autism research have expanded and evolved. Moreover, increasing research interest is expressed in how the two fields may intertwine. While an initial study found an increased incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses in transgender youth (de Vries, Noens, Cohen-Kettenis, van Berckelaer-Onnes, & Doreleijers, 2010), insight into the co-occurrence of ASD and/or autistic characteristics and gender dysphoria (GD) and/or gender variance remains limited. The aims of this thesis were therefore threefold. First, we aimed to enhance our understanding about the co-occurrence rates of autistic characteristics and gender diversity in different populations with regard to age range and sample collection (i.e., understanding autistic characteristics in individuals referred to gender identity specialty services, understanding gender variance in autistic individuals, and the rates of ASD diagnoses and autistic characteristics and gender variance in the general population). Second, we aimed to study if potential ASD subdomains or specific autism-related profiles could be identified associated with the co-occurrence. Finally, we looked at the implications of co-occurring gender diversity and autism for mental health, and aimed to investigate (the effects of gender-affirming medical treatment on) broader mental health and mental health challenges in transgender youth regardless of autism status or autistic characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Popma, Arne, Supervisor
  • de Vries, Anna, Co-supervisor
  • Steensma, Thomas D., Co-supervisor
Award date29 Jun 2021
Place of PublicationAlblasserdam
Print ISBNs9789464166132
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

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