University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 2023
Major: Social Work
Mentor: Dr. Ngozi Enelamah
Research Title: Mental Health Effects of Camouflaging in Neurodivergent College Students & Differences Based on Gender Identity
Those with autism or those who are considered neurodivergent tend to experience very severe psychiatric comorbidities due to their conscious or unconscious act of camouflaging. The effects may be more heightened in college students due to the academic and social pressures that often appear on college campuses. This can also be particularly true for those who were assigned female at birth. This study aims to examine the presentation of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in college students and if camouflaging holds mental health differences based on gender identity. It is important for colleges and universities to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, including those who are neurodivergent. This can include providing resources such as counseling services, disability accommodations, and support groups specifically for individuals with ASD. Educating the broader student body on ASD and neurodiversity can help reduce stigma and promote understanding and acceptance. By supporting and empowering students with ASD, colleges can help them thrive both academically and socially.