By: Davine Holness
A new study has found an unexpected correlation: children who have attention deficit and hyperactivity problems, as well as children with autism spectrum disorders, are more likely than their peers to experience gender variance. Gender variance is the wish to be another gender. Researcher John Strang found gender variance to be 7.59 times more common in children with autism spectrum disorders when compared with kids that had no neurodevelopmental disorder. Additionally, children with ADHD were 6.64 times more likely to wish to be another gender than the control group in this study.
While the study did not provide the reasons for the observed correlation, Strang has proposed a number of possible explanations. His theories are based on reasons why children with these mental disorders who have certain traits would be more likely to identify these traits as gender identity issues and mention them. In the case of ADHD, the disorder is characterized by difficulties with impulse control. Thus, children with this disorder may be less likely than their peers to respond to pressures against cross-gender expression by restraining their gender impulses. With autism, the correlation may occur because these children are less aware of social norms that frown upon expressions of gender variance, so they would feel less compelled to hide their desires to be the other gender than their neurotypical peers. Additionally, children with autism spectrum disorders often have rigid thinking, seeing everything as either black or white. They may therefore be more likely to interpret mild or moderate gender nonconforming tendencies as definite gender variance.
If you or your child is struggling with gender identity issues, ADHD, or an autism spectrum disorder, talking to a mental health professional may be of great help. Feel free to contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy at (201) 368-3700or (212) 722-1920 for more information and/or to set up an appointment.
More detailed information can be found at http://www.acenterfortherapy.com
Wood, J. (2013, March 14). » Kids With ADHD, Autism More Likely to Have Gender Identity Issues – Psych Central News. Psych Central.com. Retrieved May 28, 2014