Amy Pearson, Kieran Rose

Autistic Masking: Understanding Identity Management and the Role of Stigma

This book aims to define the process of autistic masking and the underlying reasons for its existence. It will consider the social context, including an individual’s response to stigma or trauma, that facilitates impression management.



Masking is a form of identity management involving consciously or unconsciously suppressing aspects of identity and action. Often seen in socially marginalised groups, it is found to contribute towards poorer outcomes for autistic people and is related to higher prevalence of suicidality, exhaustion, burnout, and mental health difficulties. Though masking has been predominantly framed as a social strategy to ‘blend in’ with neurotypical (non-autistic) people, emerging research suggests that masking can also form as a response to stigma and from traumatic experiences.

Taking an intersectional lens to consider how autistic identity may interact with other aspects of selfhood, the authors will provide a holistic understanding of the most up-to-date evidence with the aim to develop solid knowledge and practice in health and education.


Clinical psychologists; health and social care professionals who work with autistic people; mental health professionals; students of these professions, autism studies, neurodiversity, psychology and sociology; teachers and SEND educators; parents with autistic children.


Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

ISBN: 9781803882116

Publication Date: June 2023


1. Introduction
2. Setting the scene: social context and background
3. Deconstructing current ideas around masking
4. Stigma
5. Intersectionality: understanding masking as a stress response
6. Masking and gender
7. Masking and trauma
8. Development (of identity; of masking) and processes
9. Mechanisms of masking
10. Projecting acceptability
11. How to (safely) foster authenticity – boundaries, safe spaces etc.
12. Conclusions; summary; moving forward
Appendices: glossary


Amy Pearson is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sunderland and an autistic autism researcher. Her work focuses on understanding the impact of interpersonal victimisation among autistic people, and the relationship between autistic identity and masking/stigma.

Kieran Rose operates the Autistic Advocate, delivering specialist training and consultancy in autism and neurodiversity. He is a published research partner with the Institute of Leadership and Management on the experiences of neurodivergent people in employment. He is a Research Associate at the University of Sunderland, co-producing qualitative research into different areas on autism with his research partner, Dr Amy Pearson.


  1. Riley J. Morgan, M.S.

    ‘I’m an autistic therapist who provides autism-focused and neurodiversity affirming therapy in California (USA). Dr. Amy Pearson and Kieran Rose’s work on autistic masking has played a fundamentally significant role in informing my therapy practice. Conceptualizing autistic masking as a trauma response has allowed me to better understand the psychological underpinnings of autistic burnout, stigmatization, and the intersection between autism and other marginalized identities. By applying this knowledge, I hope to inspire my clients to live more authentic and joyful lives. I believe that this latest book, Autistic Masking: Understanding Identity Management and the Role of Stigma, will continue to be highly influential in my future therapeutic work.’

Add a review

You may also like…