Neurodivergent children and young people have a high risk of developing anxiety and depression, however interventions to support them are limited and often considered unhelpful. This is because we don’t fully understand how to design interventions that target the mechanisms potentially responsible for the development of mental health issues in neurodivergent young people.
One such mechanism is masking. Masking is something a neurodivergent young person does to hide or compensate for their neurodivergent characteristics. It has consistently been associated with anxiety and depression in neurodivergent populations, although we don’t yet know whether it is directly responsible for causing these mental health issues.
The evidence for how masking impacts mental health issues in neurodivergent people is still limited and has mainly been research among autistic people. As a result, there are no evidence-based interventions to support neurodivergent young people who mask, even though young people and clinicians have expressed a need for support in this area.
This project aims to develop an intervention to support neurodivergent young people who mask. To do this, our researcher will:
test the relationship between masking and mental health in neurodivergent young people
co-develop an intervention to support neurodivergent young people who mask
This work will be co-produced with neurodivergent young people, parents, and clinicians.
What we hope to achieve
We hope our work on this project leads to further research and the development of clinical policy recommendations on interventions for masking in neurodivergent young people.