Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Female-to-male transsexual people have more autistic traits, study suggests

Date:
May 5, 2011
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
A new study has for the first time found that female-to-male transsexual people have a higher than average number of autistic traits.

A new study from Cambridge University has for the first time found that female-to-male transsexual people have a higher than average number of autistic traits.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) funded study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, has important implications for the clinical management of biological girls with gender incongruence that persists into adulthood, and for the 'extreme male brain' theory of autism.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at University of Cambridge, led the study with Rebecca Jones, now at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. The team included Professor Richard Green and Dr Domenico Di Ceglie, world experts in transsexualism and gender incongruence in young people respectively, and by Emma Martin, a clinical psychotherapist and herself transsexual.

The researchers measured autistic traits using the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), and compared AQ scores from five groups: 61 transmen, 198 transwomen; 76 typical males; 98 typical females; and 125 individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS). They found transmen had a higher average AQ than typical females, typical males and transwomen, but lower than individuals with AS.

Simon Baron-Cohen interpreted the results as follows: "Girls with a higher than average number level of autistic traits tend to have male-typical interests, showing a preference for systems over emotions. They prefer not to socialise with typical girls because they have different interests, and because typical girls on average have more advanced social skills. Both of these factors may lead girls with a higher number of autistic traits to socialize with boys, to believe they have a boy's mind in a girl's body, and to attribute their unhappiness to being a girl."

Rebecca Jones added "If such girls do believe they have a boy's mind in a girl's body, their higher than average number of autistic traits may also mean they hold their beliefs very strongly, and pursue them to the logical conclusion: opting for sex reassignment surgery in adulthood."

Domenico Di Ceglie, Director of Training and Research at the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London, commented: "These are important findings in the field of gender incongruence, which need to be replicated. The awareness of the presence of autistic features may help these young people to explore the reasons behind their perceptions, and help them make more informed decisions about treatment."

Emma Martin, who runs a Gender Identity Support and research group in Little Downham, UK, welcomed the new findings, and added two important caveats: "This new research reminds us that gender incongruence is incredibly complex. Every possibility should be discussed with new clients, but should not delay what can be a painfully slow process for those affected."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rebecca M. Jones, Sally Wheelwright, Krista Farrell, Emma Martin, Richard Green, Domenico Di Ceglie, Simon Baron-Cohen. Brief Report: Female-To-Male Transsexual People and Autistic Traits. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1227-8

Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "Female-to-male transsexual people have more autistic traits, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505103241.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2011, May 5). Female-to-male transsexual people have more autistic traits, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505103241.htm
University of Cambridge. "Female-to-male transsexual people have more autistic traits, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505103241.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins