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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Gender Differences in Employment, Services, and Family Support

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss  social services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

At Autism, Julie Lounds Taylor and colleagues have an article titled "Sex Differences in Employment and Supports for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder."  The abstract:
This study explored sex differences in employment, reasons for unemployment, benefits, and supports among a large, international sample of adults with autism spectrum disorder. The sample included 443 adults with autism spectrum disorder (60% female; 74% residing in the United States) who consented to be part of an autism research registry and completed an Internet survey. Outcome variables included current employment status, number of hours working, number of jobs in the past 5 years, reasons for unemployment, as well as the number of benefits received and the amount of financial support currently being received from families of origin. Using multiple regression models, we found that males and females were working at similar rates. Females were more likely than males to say that their unemployment was a result of choosing to withdraw from the labor market. Similar percentages of males and females reported receiving some form of benefits or family support, but of those receiving benefits/family support, males received more than females. These results are consistent with other studies finding subtle, but potentially important sex differences in life-course outcomes of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
From the article:
This study adds to the literature by suggesting subtle yet potentially important differences between men and women with ASD in employment, formal services, and family financial support. The pattern of findings in this sample is consistent with findings from other studies examining sex differences in employment. In the Taylor and Mailick studies (Taylor et al., 2015; Taylor & Mailick, 2014), sex differences were not observed when looking at rates of employment/PSE or independence in vocation at a single point in time, but only when digging beneath the surface to examine patterns of employment/PSE. Similarly, in the present analyses, there were no overall sex differences in rates of employment/PSE participation, but instead there were differences in attitudes toward employment (thoughts about hours working, reasons for unemployment). There were also no overall sex differences in the percentages of those receiving any benefits or family financial support, but instead in the amount of assistance received (for those receiving support/benefits). Thus, it appears that sex differences for adults with ASD might not be observed when examining broad indicators of adult outcomes, but instead when delving deeper to examine outcomes in a more fine-grained manner.