Gender Differences in Treatment-Seeking Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Tom Cariveau, Courtney E. McCracken, Jessica Bradshaw, Valentina Postorino, M. Alice Shillingsburg, Christopher J. McDougle, Michael G. Aman, James T. McCracken, Elaine Tierney, Cynthia Johnson, Luc Lecavalier, Tristram Smith, Naomi B. Swiezy, Bryan H. King, Eric Hollander, Linmarie Sikich, Benedetto Vitiello, Lawrence Scahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The estimated prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is consistently higher in males than females. Gender differences in ASD have long been debated and are influenced by the historical period and source of the sample. The current study reports gender differences in core symptoms, associated features, and treatment response in 682 youth (585 males, 97 females) with ASD. The sample included participants (mean = 7.4 years; range 3–17 years) from six federally-funded, multisite, randomized clinical trials. These trials collected the same measures of social disability, repetitive behavior, adaptive skills, disruptive behavior, and anxiety pretreatment and used the Improvement scale of the Clinical Global Impression at study endpoint. Exploratory analyses yielded no differences between males and females across numerous pre-treatment measures. The rate of positive response was 49.7% for males and 53.6% for females (Chi square = 0.50; p = 0.48). In this sample of convenience, youth with ASD clinical characteristics and response to treatment showed no significant gender differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-792
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Autism
  • Gender
  • Gender differences
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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