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Gender dysphoria diagnosis more likely for teens with autism

Adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis have increased odds of a co-occurring gender dysphoria (GD) diagnosis, according to a study published online July 3 in Pediatrics.

Nicole F. Kahn, Ph.D., from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and colleagues used data from the PEDSnet learning health system network for eight pediatric hospital institutions to examine the prevalence of co-occurring ASD and GD diagnoses among 919,898 U.S. adolescents aged 9 to 18 years.

The researchers found that a GD diagnosis was more prevalent among youth with versus without an ASD diagnosis (1.1 versus 0.6%), with significantly greater odds of a GD diagnosis seen among youth with an ASD diagnosis in adjusted regression (adjusted odds ratio, 3.00). The prevalence of co-occurring ASD/GD diagnoses was higher among those whose electronic medical record-reported sex was female and among those using private insurance, prednisolone use in dogs while prevalence was lower among youth of color, especially Black and Asian youth.

“Our study adds to the growing body of research on co-occurring ASD and GD and provides important evidence to support additional research, improved screening for ASD and gender diversity, and care integration and coordination in specialty clinics and in underserved communities,” the authors write.

More information:
Abstract: Nicole F. Kahn et al, Co-occurring Autism Spectrum Disorder and Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents, Pediatrics (2023). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2023-061363

Editorial: Scott E. Hadland et al, Affirming Care for Autism and Gender Diversity, Pediatrics (2023). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2023-061813

Journal information:

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