Camouflage, self-esteem, and gratitude in young adults with autism spectrum conditions in Poland


    Filip Nieradka , Joanna Kossewska




How to Cite

Nieradka, F., & Kossewska, J. (2023). Camouflage, self-esteem, and gratitude in young adults with autism spectrum conditions in Poland. International Journal of Special Education, 38(2), 188–198.


Autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) imply functioning difficulties in adulthood due to the fact that they are caused by early-onset problems in social communication, unusually restricted repetitive behavior, and narrow interests. Living with ASC might be difficult for young adults who face specific developmental tasks, such as undertaking a professional career and engaging in social and civic responsibilities. Because of the need to hide their dysfunctions and to conform to social norms and conventions, affected people use camouflage strategies. In order to improve their well-being and functioning, they may also use the regulatory function of self-esteem and gratitude.

The presented research carried out in Poland aimed to determine the relations between the intensity of camouflage, self-esteem, and gratitude and to test for differences in the levels of these variables, taking into consideration the intensity of the autism spectrum conditions (ASC). The study comprised a total of 104 young adults (68 women = 65.38%, and 36 men = 34.62%) who graduated from secondary or tertiary education aged between 19 and 35 years. The entire group was divided into two subgroups based on the screening questionnaire Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ10), a ten-item abridged version.

One subgroup consisted of 52 adults with a high intensity of autistic traits, and the other consisted of individuals with a low intensity of autistic traits. The results showed a correlation between the level of autism spectrum conditions and camouflage. The level of camouflage was significantly higher in the subgroup with an increased severity of autistic traits compared with the subgroup with a low severity. In contrast, no significant differences were detected between the subgroups in the levels of self-esteem and gratitude, nor were any linear correlations between spectrum conditions and self-esteem and gratitude found.


autism spectrum conditions, ASC, camouflage, self-esteem, gratitude


IJSE Vol 38, No: 2, 2023

Volume 38, Number: 2, Year 2023 of International Journal of Special Education

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