A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Diagnostician Sex/Gender-Bias and Challenges in Assessing Females for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Joanna M. Tsirgiotis, Robyn L. Young, Nathan Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the importance of clinical judgement in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) assessment, little is currently known about challenges faced by diagnosticians when the client is female, any sex/gender biases during the assessment process, and how these issues affect diagnostic outcomes. Forty-seven ASD diagnosticians completed a questionnaire containing two hypothetical case studies (a ‘male’ and ‘female’ ASD presentation), with sex/gender randomly assigned within each. Diagnosticians reported greater ASD symptom severity when female sex/gender pseudonyms were allocated to the case studies, but their confidence in ASD diagnosis was similar regardless of condition. Diagnosticians identified a large number of challenges associated with assessing females for ASD. Many of these related to sex/gender differences in ASD presentation and limitations of diagnostic instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date20 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Clinician biases
  • Female presentation
  • Gender
  • Sex

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