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19-05-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2017 Open Access

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 8/2017

“Putting on My Best Normal”: Social Camouflaging in Adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 8/2017
Auteurs:
Laura Hull, K. V. Petrides, Carrie Allison, Paula Smith, Simon Baron-Cohen, Meng-Chuan Lai, William Mandy
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10803-017-3166-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Meng-Chuan Lai and William Mandy are joint senior authors for this paper.

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.

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