Library Dissertation Showcase

Association between autistic traits, camouflaging and suicidal Ideation in formally and self-diagnosed autistic adults

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2023

Autistic adults are at elevated risk for suicidal ideation. Prior research suggests camouflaging may be detrimental to mental health, with higher levels of camouflaging associated with suicidal ideation in females with autistic traits. The current study extends this by assessing camouflaging and suicidal ideation in autistic females and males, who are formally or self-diagnosed. Overall, it was hypothesised that higher levels of camouflaging would be associated with suicidal ideation. Additionally, females would engage in higher camouflaging efforts and suicidal ideation than males. A sample of42 adults, who self-reported a formal diagnosis (N = 21) or self-diagnosis (N = 21) of autism were recruited via social media to complete an online survey. The cross-sectional study measured level of autistic traits, social camouflaging behaviours and suicidal ideation. Pearson’s correlations revealed higher autistic traits were associated with higher camouflaging efforts. However, camouflaging was not associated with suicidal ideation. Further analysis using independent-samples t-tests revealed formally diagnosed autistic adults demonstrated higher autistic traits than self-diagnosed, however illustrated no differences in camouflaging and suicidal ideation. Moreover, no gender differences were found. Future research would benefit from using a larger, more representative sample, with equal numbers of females and males to see if non-significant findings are replicated. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

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