Autism and Gender

Electronic versions


  • Aimee Hooper


This thesis comprises of the following three papers: (1) a systematic literature review; (2) a qualitative empirical study; (3) contributions to theory and clinical practice. The systematic literature review qualitatively summarises 17 papers dated 2013–2015, exploring possible gender differences in young individuals with autism aged 0–18 years old. The results, although mixed due to variability and limitations in study design and methodology, suggested that young individuals with autism may be more similar than dissimilar in the severity of their core autism symptomatology. However, there may be autism-specific gender differences in the following areas: neurobiological abnormalities; sensory sensitivity; parental distress; the quality and nature of restrictive and repetitive behaviours, interests and activities; and the co-morbidity of other conditions. The clinical and research implications are discussed in detail. The empirical paper presents an original qualitative exploration of 11 high-functioning autistic women’s lived experiences, aged 19–60 years old, around their use or non-use of coping strategies in social situations. A thematic analysis of interview transcripts suggested that the women used various methods to get by socially. The types of strategies reported were either to mask social skills difficulties and autistic behaviours, or, to compensate for certain social skills limitations. Alternatively some of the women had dropped previously used ‘acts’ and others had never wished to compensate or mask, preferring to be open and honest. Regardless of the coping approach used, the women experienced more negative outcomes than positive ones from their social experiences. The clinical and research implications of these findings are explored. The third paper discusses the theoretical, clinical, and research implications of the above papers in further detail.


Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Sefydliad dyfarnu
Goruchwylydd / Goruchwylwyr / Cynghorydd
  • Kristina Cole (Goruchwylydd)
Dyddiad dyfarnuIon 2016