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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 409;

Differential Gender Effects in the Relationship between Perceived Immune Functioning and Autistic Traits

Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht University, 3584 CG Utrecht, The Netherlands
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
Nutricia Research, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands
Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University, Melbourne 3122, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 February 2017 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 12 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Altered immune functioning has been demonstrated in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current study explores the relationship between perceived immune functioning and experiencing ASD traits in healthy young adults. N = 410 students from Utrecht University completed a survey on immune functioning and autistic traits. In addition to a 1-item perceived immune functioning rating, the Immune Function Questionnaire (IFQ) was completed to assess perceived immune functioning. The Dutch translation of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) was completed to examine variation in autistic traits, including the domains “social insights and behavior”, “difficulties with change”, “communication”, “phantasy and imagination”, and “detail orientation”. The 1-item perceived immune functioning score did not significantly correlate with the total AQ score. However, a significant negative correlation was found between perceived immune functioning and the AQ subscale “difficulties with change” (r = −0.119, p = 0.019). In women, 1-item perceived immune functioning correlated significantly with the AQ subscales “difficulties with change” (r = −0.149, p = 0.029) and “communication” (r = −0.145, p = 0.032). In men, none of the AQ subscales significantly correlated with 1-item perceived immune functioning. In conclusion, a modest relationship between perceived immune functioning and several autistic traits was found. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism; immune functioning; gender autism; immune functioning; gender
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mackus, M.; Kruijff, D.D.; Otten, L.S.; Kraneveld, A.D.; Garssen, J.; Verster, J.C. Differential Gender Effects in the Relationship between Perceived Immune Functioning and Autistic Traits. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 409.

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