Autism trait prevalence in treatment seeking adolescents and adults attending specialist gender services

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Background. To assess the prevalence of autism traits in individuals accessing gender affirming treatments, we conducted a cross-sectional survey in the regional specialist gender services in Northern Ireland.
Methods. One hundred and twenty-three individuals (38 adolescents and 69 adults) currently attending or who previously attended specialist gender services in Northern Ireland were recruited. Fifty-six individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB) and 66 individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB) took part in the study. Main outcome measures: Autism Quotient (AQ), Cambridge Behavior Scale (EQ), and RAADS-14.
Results. Autism trait prevalence rates of 19.5% (AQ); 25.4% (RAADS-14); and 35.8% (poor empathy traits). A combined measure comprising all three provided a prevalence of 17.2%. There were no mean differences in the scores between AMAB (assigned male at birth) individuals and AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals.
Conclusions. Autism traits present additional challenges during the assessment and treatment of individuals with gender dysphoria. Autism screening tools can aid in the identification of individual with additional needs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Specialist publicationEuropean Psychiatry
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2020



  • Autism
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Prevalence
  • Transgender
  • prevalence
  • gender dysphoria
  • transgender

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