Examination of Sex Differences in Externalizing and Internalizing Symptoms in Children with HFASD Using the BASC-2
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Although some initial studies have examined sex-based differences in externalizing and internalizing symptoms within samples of children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD), the research is limited and findings have been inconsistent. Consequently, there is a need for studies of sex differences in comorbid symptoms of children with HFASD utilizing narrow inclusion criteria (i.e., age and functional level), a rigorous screening process, and larger carefully matched samples. The present study identified comorbid externalizing and internalizing symptoms in a sample of children with HFASD and compared those symptom levels between boys and girls. A total of 80 children, ages 6 to 12 years, with HFASD were divided into two equal groups based on sex (40 boys and 40 girls). The boy and girl participants were matched on age and IQ. Externalizing and internalizing symptoms were assessed using the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2). Externalizing and internalizing symptoms were significantly elevated in children with HFASD (boys and girls) compared to normative estimates for all the scales (Hyperactivity, Aggression, Anxiety, and Depression) except Conduct Problems. No significant differences were found between boys and girls with HFASD for either externalizing or internalizing symptoms. Implications of the findings for clinical practice and future research are provided.