Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wishing to be another gender: Links to ADHD, autism spectrum disorders

Date:
March 12, 2014
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Children and teenagers with an autism spectrum disorder or those who have attention deficit and hyperactivity problems are much more likely to wish to be another gender. This is the conclusion of the first study to compare the occurrence of such gender identity issues among children and adolescents with and without specific neurodevelopmental disorders. Participant children were between 6 and 18 years old. They either had no neurodevelopmental disorder, or they were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a medical neurodevelopmental disorder such as epilepsy, or neurofibromatosis.

Children and teenagers with an autism spectrum disorder or those who have attention deficit and hyperactivity problems are much more likely to wish to be another gender. So says John Strang of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, USA, leader of the first study to compare the occurrence of such gender identity issues among children and adolescents with and without specific neurodevelopmental disorders.

Related Articles


The paper is published in Springer's journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Children between 6 and 18 years old were part of the study. They either had no neurodevelopmental disorder, or they were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a medical neurodevelopmental disorder such as epilepsy, or neurofibromatosis. The wish to be the other gender, known as gender variance, was assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist, one of the most commonly used behavioral report inventories for children and adolescents.

Compared to the control group, gender variance was found to be 7.59 times more common in participants with ASD. It was also found 6.64 times more often in participants with ADHD. No difference was noted between the control group and participants in the other two neurodevelopmental groups.

Participants who wished to be another gender had elevated rates of anxiety and depression symptoms. However, these were lower among participants with autism spectrum disorders. This is possibly due to their impaired social reasoning which makes them unaware of the societal pressures against gender nonconformity.

Strang and his co-workers' study is the first to report on the overlap between ADHD diagnosis and coinciding gender variance. It supports previous studies that have shown increased levels of behavioral problems and/or disruptive disorders among young people with gender variance.

Navigating a child's gender variance is often complex for children and families. The presence of neurodevelopmental disorders makes diagnostics, coping, and adaptation even more challenging.

"In ADHD, difficulties inhibiting impulses are central to the disorder and could result in difficulty keeping gender impulses 'under wraps' in spite of internal and external pressures against cross-gender expression," says Strang, who suggests that the coincidence of gender variance with ADHD and ASD could be related to the underlying symptoms of these neurodevelopmental disorders.

Strang continued, "Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders may be less aware of the social restrictions against expressions of gender variance and therefore less likely to avoid expressing these inclinations. It could also be theorized that excessively rigid or 'black and white' thinking could result in such a child's rigidly interpreting mild or moderate gender nonconforming inclinations as more intense or absolute."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John F. Strang, Lauren Kenworthy, Aleksandra Dominska, Jennifer Sokoloff, Laura E. Kenealy, Madison Berl, Karin Walsh, Edgardo Menvielle, Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Kyung-Eun Kim, Caroline Luong-Tran, Haley Meagher, Gregory L. Wallace. Increased Gender Variance in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10508-014-0285-3

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Wishing to be another gender: Links to ADHD, autism spectrum disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312103102.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, March 12). Wishing to be another gender: Links to ADHD, autism spectrum disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312103102.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Wishing to be another gender: Links to ADHD, autism spectrum disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312103102.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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