Date of Award
Union College Only
Bachelor of Science
Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
Dr. Jillmarie Murphy
Autism, Gender, Gender-Related Distress, Gender Dysphoria, Camouflaging, Female Autistic Phenotype
Recent studies have indicated that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder are more likely to report symptoms of gender-related distress (e.g., gender dysphoria and low gender self-esteem). Gender-related distress in this review is defined as any distress or psychological pain resulting from difficulties with gender identity or expression. It has also been found that many autistic individuals camouflage their ASD symptoms. Camouflaging has been linked to increased distress and poorer mental health outcomes. Despite the relatedness between gender-related distress and camouflaging, no academic texts inspect the relationship between these phenomena. To fill this gap, this review will first highlight research that has been conducted surrounding gender-related distress and camouflaging in individuals with ASD. Then, a narrative will be constructed which supports that camouflaging functions to exacerbate gender-related distress in individuals with ASD. Attention will be drawn to how gendered expectations in communication may promote gender-related distress in individuals who have difficulty interacting and empathizing with others. Clinical implications, research limitations, and further directions will be explored as well.
Walenda, Jillian, "Autism and Gender: The Intersection Between Camouflaging and Gender-Related Distress" (2022). Honors Theses. 2635.