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The Experiences of Camouflaging in Canadian Autistic Women

  • Author / Creator
    Denomey, Nicholas
  • The phenomena of quality of life and camouflaging of autistic individuals have garnered significant attention from academic researchers over the past decade; however, the impact of
    camouflaging on the quality of life of Canadian autistic women has seldom been assessed. Camouflaging, also referred to as masking, is often used by autistic and non-autistic individuals
    in an attempt to blend into their social environments, such as by mimicking the behaviours or appearance of others (Hull et al., 2017). Despite literature highlighting the benefits of including the female autistic voice in research, research acknowledging autistic lived experience as expertise is rare (Howard et al., 2019). The present qualitative study aims to understand further the experiences of camouflaging and the implications camouflaging may have on the quality of life of autistic women. Five cis-gendered Canadian autistic women were purposely sampled and interviewed about their camouflaging experiences and the perceived impact of those experiences on their quality of life. Responses were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to develop themes that address the study's research purpose. The participants described their camouflaging experiences as adaptive, variable, and dependent on degrees of external and internal acceptance of autism. Additionally, the decision to camouflage or not has both benefits and challenges that impact the participants' social, physical, psychological, and environmental quality of life. The findings provide an enhanced understanding of the complexity associated with individual experiences of camouflaging and its impacts on various domains of quality of life. These results inform new understandings of the lived experiences of autistic women highlighting potential avenues for re-allocated supports and more autistic-female-focused programs that address low quality of life.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-8eez-2t14
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.