Co-Occurring Autism Spectrum Disorder and Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and gender dysphoria (GD) frequently cooccur. However, existing research has primarily used smaller samples, limiting generalizability and the ability to assess further demographic variation. The purpose of this study was to (1) examine the prevalence of cooccurring ASD and GD diagnoses among US adolescents aged 9 to 18 and (2) identify demographic differences in the prevalence of cooccurring ASD and GD diagnoses. This secondary analysis used data from the PEDSnet learning health system network of 8 pediatric hospital institutions. Analyses included descriptive statistics and adjusted mixed logistic regression testing for associations between ASD and GD diagnoses and interactions between ASD diagnosis and demographic characteristics in the association with GD diagnosis. Among 919 898 patients, GD diagnosis was more prevalent among youth with an ASD diagnosis compared with youth without an ASD diagnosis (1.1% vs 0.6%), and adjusted regression revealed significantly greater odds of GD diagnosis among youth with an ASD diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio = 3.00, 95% confidence interval: 2.72–3.31). Cooccurring ASD/GD diagnoses were more prevalent among youth whose electronic medical record-reported sex was female and those using private insurance, and less prevalent among youth of color, particularly Black and Asian youth. Results indicate that youth whose electronic medical record-reported sex was female and those using private insurance are more likely, and youth of color are less likely, to have cooccurring ASD/GD diagnoses. This represents an important step toward building services and supports that reduce disparities in access to care and improve outcomes for youth with cooccurring ASD/GD and their families.