Autism disclosure – The decisions autistic adults make

Armita Farsinejad, Ailsa Russell, Catherine Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)

Abstract

Background: Autistic people face dilemmas regarding whether to disclose their autism due to the potential negative consequences. While there have been studies examining the issue of disclosure, a small but growing number have specifically investigated how autistic adults make decisions to disclose. The aim of the study was to understand the perspective of autistic adults about the decisions behind disclosure. Methods: This cross-sectional mixed methods study recruited 30 autistic adults who completed an online survey. The online survey included free response text spaces to answer questions about disclosure. An inductive approach using thematic analysis was used for the analyses of the survey responses. Participants also completed two self report measures about how strongly they identify with an autism identity and how positively they view this identity. Results: Themes of informed judgement and raising awareness appeared central to how decisions were made to disclose Autism. Participants did not strongly identify with the diagnostic label, nor did they feel particularly negative towards the label. Conclusion: Misconceptions and stigma about autism can inhibit individuals from disclosing and can contribute to poorer mental health. Thus, educating the public is vital to reduce negative misconceptions of autism to not only better understand Autism but to help raise awareness so that autism can be discussed without fear of stigmatisation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101936
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume93
Early online date18 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Disclosure
  • Social identity
  • Stigmatised identities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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