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Sex Differences in Social Participation of High School Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Smith DaWalt, L., Lounds Taylor, J., Bishop, S., Hall, L. J., Steinbrenner, J. D., Kraemer, B., Hume, K. A., & Odom, S. L.
2020

From the abstract: "There is lack of consensus in the literature regarding sex differences in social outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum. Furthermore, little research has focused on the social experiences of high school students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during the school day. Using a large racially/ethnically diverse sample of high school students with ASD receiving special education services (n = 547; 76 females, 471 males), we examined sex differences in social interactions of youth both during and after school. We also tested for sex differences in background and phenotypic characteristics including autism severity, IQ, adaptive behavior, and mental health. Results indicated few statistically significant differences between males and females in social interactions and phenotypic characteristics (including raw scores of autism symptom severity). However, analysis of standardized scores of autism symptoms suggested that symptom scores for females with ASD diverged more from same‐sex peers in the normed sample than scores of males with ASD. Lack of sex difference in social participation for youth with ASD in this study stands in contrast to patterns of sex differences in the general population. Findings suggest that few differences between males and females with ASD, both in social participation and autism symptom severity, might result in females with ASD being more dissimilar to their same‐sex peers than males with ASD. Implications of findings for understanding sex differences in ASD across the life course are discussed."

Citation

Smith DaWalt, L., Lounds Taylor, J., Bishop, S., Hall, L. J., Steinbrenner, J. D., Kraemer, B., Hume, K. A., & Odom, S. L. (2020). Sex differences in social participation of high school students with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/aur.2348

DOI

10.1002/aur.2348