Research

Research interests.

Camouflaging.

Image of a well camouflaged owl

Camouflaging is a term used to describe the experience of ‘masking’ or ‘passing’ as neurotypical. There has been a recent surge in research looking at camouflaging in autism but we still need to know more about camouflaging and the effects it has on people’s lives. With Zoe Troxell-Whitman, we have recently published our findings on the costs, contexts and reasons for camouflaging.

My DClinPsy (Doctorate in Clinical Psychology) student, Ella Perry, is also currently developing a project looking at camouflaging and social identity. Ella is externally supervised by Dr Will Mandy at UCL.

University experiences for autistic people, and those with mental health conditions.

Books in a university library

I am interested in understanding more about how we can best support autistic people when they are at university. Currently I am conducting a project looking at why autistic people seem to be more likely to not complete their university degree, and what we can do to better support autistic students.

With Dr Alana James (University of Reading) and Dr Rebecca Lucas (University of Roehampton) we are currently conducting a project examining how autistic students (as well as non-autistic people with mental health conditions) can be supported with the transition out of university and into employment or further study.

I am also passionate about improving student mental health more generally. Alongside four final year Royal Holloway Psychology students, we conducted a study looking at the barriers to accessing support for students who have mental health conditions. You can read more about our findings here.

Autism acceptance.

Symbol of neurodiversity

My past research has shown that autistic people do not feel accepted, and this is impacting on their well-being. I have also examined non-autistic people’s attitudes towards autistic people, both in terms of ‘dehumanisation‘ and first impressions. But what can we actually do to improve acceptance? I hope to examine this topic by looking at whether we can improve autism acceptance, in particular within university settings.

My final year project students (2017/18) from Royal Holloway, Abby, Astrid, Becky, Emma and Nadia, conducted a project looking at whether young neurotypical children’s attitudes towards autism could be influenced by a story about an autistic child, framed within a neurodiversity framework. You can read about their findings on the Social Development Lab blog.

Identity. 

Person sitting on a swing thinking

I am also interested in the construction of identity – how do we create a sense of who we are? My DClinPsy student Lily Cresswell carried out a project looking at autistic adolescents’ identity, and how identity processes might impact on well-being. You can read about Lily’s research here.

My DClinPsy student Kate Whitaker has conducted a project looking at gender identity in autism. She has been looking at the experiences of people who identify as non-binary or trans when they try to access mental health services. I am also supervising DClinPsy student Kirsten Corden, who currently planning a study looking at identity and diagnosis for autistic women.

Publications.

You can find my publications listed on my Royal Holloway profile page where you may be able to access the full papers. If you would like to read any and do not have access, please get in touch (eilidh.cage@rhul.ac.uk).

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