A comparison of methods for measuring camouflaging in autism

Benjamin Hannon, William Mandy, Laura Hull*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)


Interest in social camouflaging has led to a multiplicity of measurement methods of uncertain validity. This two-part investigation first used a systematic review (“Study 1”) to identify and appraise methods used to quantify camouflaging of autistic traits, using the Consensus-based Standards for the Selection of Health Status Measurement Instruments checklist. A total of 16 distinct measurement tools were identified; all are in the preliminary phases of psychometric evaluation. The systematic review highlighted: (1) the need for parent-report tools which specifically measure camouflaging; and (2) a lack of studies looking at associations between different methods of camouflaging, which limits understanding of their validity. “Study 2” aimed to begin to address these gaps in knowledge. We created a parent-report version of the Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q) and evaluated its concurrent validity in autistic young people by examining associations with the self-report CAT-Q and a discrepancy measure. Discriminant validity was investigated by comparing all three methods of measuring camouflaging to a measure of social skills, to test whether they assess a construct distinct from social ability. The self- and parent-report CAT-Q were significantly related (r = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.24–0.65), and were related weakly (r = 0.20, 95% CI = −0.06 to 0.43) and strongly (r = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.23–0.64), respectively, to the discrepancy approach. No measure was associated with social skills. Improving the psychometric properties of these methods, and introducing a novel parent-report measure, may help selection of appropriate methods in future research and integration into clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-29
Number of pages18
JournalAutism Research
Issue number1
Early online date24 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Laura Hull and Will Mandy were part of the original research team developing the CAT‐Q, which is evaluated in the review; however, they receive no financial gains from this freely available resource. The authors have no other conflicts of interest to report. There has been no financial gain during the research. Ben Hannon produced the systematic review as part of his DClinPsy which was funded by Health Education England. Will Mandy's work is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Autistica, the Medical Research Council, the European Research Council and Dunhill Medical Trust. Laura Hull is currently supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, University of Bristol, the Wellcome Trust and the Rosetrees Trust, but was not at the time this research was conducted.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Autism Research published by International Society for Autism Research and Wiley Periodicals LLC.


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