Understanding Camouflaging/Masking in Autistic Adults

By University of Western Australia

A team of researchers from the School of Psychological Science at the University of Western Australia (UWA) currently running a study aimed at better understanding the psychological and social experiences that may affect camouflaging/ masking in autistic adults.

The UWA Camouflaging Research Study Team include:
• Dr. Iliana Magiati, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology
• Dr. Diana Tan, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
• Ms. Sici Zhuang, Postgraduate Student, Ph.D./Masters in Clinical Psychology candidate
• Mrs. Leena William, Honours Student, Bachelor of Psychology (Hons)
• Ms. Mackenzie Bougoure, Honours Student, Bachelor of Psychology (Hons)

Aims of study: Camouflaging refers to the use of active social strategies to minimise the visibility of autism during social situations to blend in, assimilate, and/or establish social connections with non-autistic individuals (Hull et al., 2017; Lai et al., 2017).

The study aims to systematically investigate the influence of individual psychological and wider sociocultural factors on camouflaging. In particular, the team would like to understand what psychological and social factors, events, and experiences (for example, autistic identity, stigma, burnout, vulnerability experiences, worry about negative evaluation by others, etc.) may be associated with the motivations and extent of camouflaging, and with its impact on mental well-being and quality of life.

The team hope that the findings from this study can eventually lead to more timely identification of autism (especially for people who engage in frequent camouflaging and may often be missed because of this) and inform ways to support autistic people’s mental health and well-being. A better understanding of the socio-cultural factors influencing camouflaging and its impact can also inform the development of more supportive social environments that can reduce the need to camouflage and/or can buffer the negative impact of camouflaging on autistic people’s mental health.

Who can participate?

  • Autistic adults aged 18 years and above, who can self-report and complete an online survey

What is involved?

  • Online self-report survey lasting about 45-60 minutes; reimbursement provided upon survey completion.