This study utilized a mixed-methods approach (N = 202) to explore social camouflaging in adults with ADHD and test whether social camouflaging was related to internalizing mental health problems. Using thematic analysis, motivations for camouflaging were to fit in with others, to be liked, to avoid adverse experiences, and to survive and succeed in a 'neurotypical society'. Camouflaging strategies included hiding and pretending, suppression, and compensation. Consequences included the facilitation of social interactions and outcomes, controlling perceptions, identity disturbance, exhaustion, mental health problems, reduced closeness and connection with others, interference with important cognitive functions, and the perpetuation of unrealistic expectations and ADHD stigma. Regression analyses revealed that social camouflaging was significantly related to social anxiety after controlling for age, gender and ADHD traits, but not generalized anxiety or depression. Internalized stigma did not moderate any of the relationships. Findings underscore the clinical and social considerations of camouflaging in adult ADHD.
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Thesis advisor: Iarocci, Grace
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