Autistic teenage girls’ lived experiences of masking

Jordan, Diana (2022) Autistic teenage girls’ lived experiences of masking. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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This research sought to learn about the lived experiences of autistic teenage girls who mask in social interactions and in their daily lives. The aim of the research was to increase understanding of the perspectives and experiences of autistic girls. It is hoped this will help bring additional awareness of the experiences and perspectives of autistic girls and inform Educational Psychologists who are involved in supporting autistic girls in the diagnostic process, in school environments, in interventions, and through therapeutic support. Two research questions were identified during the Literature Review, namely, “What are the experiences of autistic teenage girls who mask?” and “What sense do autistic teenage girls make of their masking?”. The use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was selected to as an approach in response to these questions. Semi-structured interviews were completed with four autistic teenage girls who reported, through a screening questionnaire, that they use masking extensively. All participants were teenage girls who are in 5th or 6th year of second level school in Ireland. Participant and parental consent was obtained for all participants. The use of visual supports was offered but not selected by participants. Following analysis of the interviews, four overarching themes were identified, namely, ‘The Work of Masking’, ‘The Aftermath of Masking’, ‘Masking as Essential’, and ‘Moving Away from Masking’. Nine superordinate themes were identified from the subordinate themes of each participant; these themes addressed the preparation required for masking, how girls developed and employed strategies, the experience of masking, the recovery and review processes, reasons girls mask, situations where masking was considered essential, friendships, and participants’ plans to move away from using masking. The findings were discussed within the context of current research. Conclusions and suggestions for future research are presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Professional Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with the University of Essex.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Communication (incl. disorders of) > Autism
Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Learning & Education in Psychology
Sex Psychology > Females/Women
Research, Tests, Assessments > Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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