Introduction: The current study explored whether camouflaging autistic traits is associated with defeat and entrapment and lifetime suicidal thoughts, as predicted by the Integrated Volitional Model of Suicide (IMV model).
Methods: 180 UK undergraduate students (76.7% female 18-67 years) completed a cross-sectional online survey from February 5 to March 23, 2020, including self-report measures of defeat and entrapment (SDES), autistic traits (AQ-10), depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), camouflaging autistic traits (CAT-Q), and lifetime suicidal thoughts and behaviors (SBQ-R item 1).
Results: After controlling for age, gender, current depression, and anxiety symptoms, autistic traits accounted for significantly more of the variance in defeat and entrapment (1.1%), and camouflaging accounted for a further 3.2% of the variance. The association between autistic traits and lifetime suicidality was significantly mediated by camouflaging, defeat, and entrapment. After controlling for age, gender, current depression, and anxiety symptoms, defeat and entrapment (but not camouflaging) accounted for significantly more variance in lifetime suicidal thoughts. The interaction between camouflaging, defeat and entrapment predicted significantly less variance in lifetime suicidal thoughts than either variable alone.
Conclusion: Results suggest that camouflaging autistic traits is a transdiagnostic risk factor for lifetime suicidality, relevant to the defeat and entrapment constructs of the IMV model.