“You Must Become a Chameleon to Survive”: Adolescent Experiences of Camouflaging

Courtney J. Bernardin, Erica Mason, Timothy Lewis, Stephen Kanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Camouflaging includes strategies used by individuals to mask or hide autistic traits. Research has shown that both autistic and neurotypical individuals engage in camouflaging and that there may be sex differences in the reasons for camouflaging in autistic adults. The purpose of this qualitative study was to extend previous research on the lived experience of camouflaging through exploring camouflaging motivations and consequences in autistic and neurotypical adolescents through both questionnaires (n = 132) and semi-structured interviews (n = 19). Results revealed trends in camouflaging motivations and consequences by diagnosis and sex, as well as by sex within the autistic group. These findings further inform our understanding of camouflaging and why it may be reported as particularly detrimental for autistic females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4422-4435
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Autism
  • Camouflaging
  • Gender
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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