Gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review of the literature

Aim The purpose of this review is to systematically appraise the current literature regarding the co-occurrence of gender dysphoria and ASD. Methods A systematic literature search using Medline and PubMed, PsycINFO, and Embase was conducted from 1966 to July 2015. Main Outcome Measures Fifty-eight articles were generated from the search. Nineteen of these publications met the inclusion criteria. Results The literature investigating ASD in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria showed a higher prevalence rate of ASD compared with the general population. There is a limited amount of research in adults. Only one study showed that adults attending services for gender dysphoria had increased ASD scores. Another study showed a larger proportion of adults with atypical gender identity and ASD. Conclusion Although the research is limited, especially for adults, there is an increasing amount of evidence that suggests a co-occurrence between gender dysphoria and ASD. Further research is vital for educational and clinical purposes.