Date of Award

4-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Research articles involving participants with an autism spectrum disorder and published from 2010-2012 in Autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Journal of Child Psychology and Child Psychiatry, and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders were examined to determine the reported gender of participants. The overall male:female ratio was 4.62, which is similar to that reported in epidemiological studies, but the ratio was 6.07 in intervention studies. These findings suggesting that males were in a statistical sense over-represented in intervention studies, but not in other kinds of research. Most (82.21%) of these studies included both male and female participants, but direct comparisons of males and females with an autism spectrum disorder are scarce. Few of the articles we examined, 0.49% of the total, involved only female participants. Roughly half of the articles included comparison groups without an autism spectrum disorder. The percentage of male participants in these comparison groups was substantially and significantly lower than the percentage of males in groups with an autism spectrum disorder, which may in some cases constitute a methodological confound. We encourage researchers to carefully consider the gender of participants as both an extraneous variable and as an independent variable in future investigations.

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