Gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder: A narrative review

Anna I.R. Van Der Miesen*, Hannah Hurley, Annelou L.C. De Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The current literature shows growing evidence of a link between gender dysphoria (GD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study reviews the available clinical and empirical data. A systematic search of the literature was conducted using the following databases: PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO and Scopus; utilizing different combinations of the following search terms: autism, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Aspergers disorder (AD), co-morbidity, gender dysphoria (GD), gender identity disorder (GID), transgenderism and transsexualism. In total, 25 articles and reports were selected and discussed. Information was grouped by found co-occurrence rates, underlying hypotheses and implications for diagnosis and treatment. GD and ASD were found to co-occur frequently - sometimes characterized by atypical presentation of GD, which makes a correct diagnosis and determination of treatment options for GD difficult. Despite these challenges there are several case reports describing gender affirming treatment of co-occurring GD in adolescents and adults with ASD. Various underlying hypotheses for the link between GD and ASD were suggested, but almost all of them lack evidence. 2016

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-80
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

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