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Systematic Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00804

A Systematic Review on Sex Differences in Social and Communication Abilities in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

 Tania Mahendiran1, 2*, Jessica Brian1, Annie Dupuis3, Nadia Muhe4, Pui-Ying Wong1, Alana Iaboni1 and  Evdokia Anagnostou5
  • 1Holland Bloorview Research Institute, Canada
  • 2Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 3Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 4University of Toronto, Canada
  • 5King’s College Circle, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada

Background: Sex differences in the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), have been well documented; still studies examining sex differences in social and communication in these disorders remain limited and inconclusive.
Methods: Using PRISMA guidelines, a search was performed on studies (2000-2017) examining sex differences in social and communication abilities in ASD, ADHD and OCD compared to controls.
Results: Eleven studies met criteria for ASD, 6 studies for ADHD and none met criteria for OCD. No significant sex differences were found between ASD and controls in social (p=0.5), or communication abilities (p=0.5) and between ADHD and controls in social abilities (p=0.7). No studies were identified to evaluate sex differences in communication in ADHD. Significant heterogeneity was noted in all analyses. Type of measure may have partially accounted for some variability between studies.
Conclusions: A limited number of studies did not detect sex differences in social and communication abilities in children with ASD and ADHD; however significant heterogeneity was noted. Future larger studies, controlling for type of measure and including adequate numbers of female participants are required to further understand sex differences in these domains.

Keywords: Autism (ASD), sex difference, Attention Deficit Hyperacitvity Disorder, Systematic review, Neurodevelopmental disorders, Social abilities

Received: 09 Mar 2019; Accepted: 08 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Mahendiran, Brian, Dupuis, Muhe, Wong, Iaboni and Anagnostou. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Miss. Tania Mahendiran, Holland Bloorview Research Institute, Toronto, M4G 1R8, Ontario, Canada,