Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1489–1494 | Cite as

Brief Report: Autistic Traits in Mothers and Children Associated with Child’s Gender Nonconformity

  • Daniel E. Shumer
  • Andrea L. Roberts
  • Sari L. Reisner
  • Kristen Lyall
  • S. Bryn Austin
Brief Report


We examined relationships between autistic traits in children, mothers, and fathers and gender nonconformity (GNC) in children using data from the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Growing Up Today Study 1. Autistic traits of mothers, fathers and children were measured using the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). GNC in children was measured using questions from the Recalled Childhood Gender Identity/Gender Role Questionnaire. In multivariable analyses increase in child’s SRS score was associated with increased odds (OR 1.35; p = 0.03) of being in a higher GNC category. Increase in maternal SRS score was also associated with increased odds (OR 1.46; p = 0.005) of the child being in a higher GNC category. Paternal SRS scores were not related to child’s GNC category.


Autism spectrum disorder Gender Gender identity Gender nonconformity Transgender 



Autism spectrum disorder


Gender nonconformity


Nurses’ Health Study II


Growing Up Today Study 1


Social Responsiveness Scale


Interquartile range



The Nurses’ Health Study II and the Growing Up Today Study are ongoing studies conducted at the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School. The work reported in this manuscript was supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Grants CA50385, T32MH073124-08, P60AR047782, HD057368, and R01ES017-04, Autism Speaks Grants 1788 and 2210, the United States Department of Defense Grant W81XWH-08-1-0499, and the United States Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC) Grant A-14917. D. E. Shumer is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 1T32HD075727-01. S.B. Austin is supported by the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Project, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, HRSA 6T71-MC00009.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel E. Shumer
    • 1
  • Andrea L. Roberts
    • 2
  • Sari L. Reisner
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kristen Lyall
    • 5
    • 6
  • S. Bryn Austin
    • 2
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Division of EndocrinologyBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.The Fenway InstituteBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of California - DavisDavisUSA
  7. 7.Division of Adolescent/Young Adult MedicineBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  8. 8.Channing Division of Network MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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