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J Autism Dev Disord. 2017 Aug;47(8):2519-2534. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3166-5.

"Putting on My Best Normal": Social Camouflaging in Adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions.

Author information

1
Research Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK. laura.hull.14@ucl.ac.uk.
2
Department of Psychology, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AP, UK. laura.hull.14@ucl.ac.uk.
3
London Psychometric Laboratory, University College London, London, UK.
4
Autism Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
5
Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and The Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
6
Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.
7
Research Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK.

Abstract

Camouflaging of autistic characteristics in social situations is hypothesised as a common social coping strategy for adults with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). Camouflaging may impact diagnosis, quality of life, and long-term outcomes, but little is known about it. This qualitative study examined camouflaging experiences in 92 adults with ASC, with questions focusing on the nature, motivations, and consequences of camouflaging. Thematic analysis was used to identify key elements of camouflaging, which informed development of a three-stage model of the camouflaging process. First, motivations for camouflaging included fitting in and increasing connections with others. Second, camouflaging itself comprised a combination of masking and compensation techniques. Third, short- and long-term consequences of camouflaging included exhaustion, challenging stereotypes, and threats to self-perception.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; Camouflaging; Coping; Gender; Sex; Social adapation

PMID:
28527095
PMCID:
PMC5509825
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-017-3166-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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