Psychosocial factors associated with camouflaging in autistic people and its relationship with mental health and well-being: A mixed methods systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Camouflaging involves hiding one's autistic characteristics in social situations. This mixed methods systematic review synthesized research on psychosocial factors associated with camouflaging and its relationship with mental well-being. Six databases were searched. The 58 included studies (40 qualitative, 13 quantitative, five mixed methods), encompassed 4808 autistic and 1780 non-autistic participants, and predominantly featured White, female, and late-diagnosed autistic adults with likely at least average intellectual and/or verbal abilities. Following a convergent integrated approach, quantitative data were transformed and synthesized with qualitative data for thematic synthesis. We identified three themes on psychosocial correlates of camouflaging: (1) social norms and pressures of a largely non-autistic world, (2) social acceptance and rejection, and (3) self-esteem and identity; and four themes on psychosocial consequences of camouflaging for well-being: (1) a pragmatic way of exerting individual agency and control; (2) overlooked, under-supported, and burnt out; (3) impact on social relationships; and (4) low self-esteem and identity confusion. Camouflaging emerges as primarily a socially motivated response linked to adverse psychosocial outcomes. A whole society approach towards acceptance and support for autistic individuals to express their authentic selves is needed. Future studies examining psychosocial influences on camouflaging should include participants who more broadly represent the autistic population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102335
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Volume105
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Psychosocial factors associated with camouflaging in autistic people and its relationship with mental health and well-being: A mixed methods systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this