Investigating Autistic Burnout (#AutBurnout)

  • Arnold, Samuel (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • higgins, Julianne (Chief Investigator)
  • Pellicano, Liz (Chief Investigator)
  • Trollor, Julian N. (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Gibbs, Vicki (Chief Investigator)

    Project: Research

    Project Details


    Autistic burnout is commonly described by autistic people – in everyday conversations, on social media (eg. #AutBurnout) – but thus far neglected as a topic of academic research. An autistic self- advocate writes, “Burnout is an integral part of the life of an Autistic person … Yet nobody, apart from Autistic people, seem to know about it” (Rose, 2018). Online accounts link autistic burnout to autistic ‘camouflaging’, or ‘putting on my best normal’. It is linked anecdotally to the high rates of associated health conditions. Yet lack of research on this topic means we know virtually nothing about its causes, correlates or consequences. This project seeks to put this right. Autistic and non- autistic researchers will co-produce an initial study using a Grounded Delphi Method (GDM) to understand autistic experiences of burnout and develop a working definition. We will use this definition to follow-up using ALSAA Wave 3 to explore risk factors.

    Key findings

    This project will:
    1. Conceptualise and define autistic burnout: Starting from an open-ended online survey, 2-3 rounds of Grounded-theory based Delphi survey (GDM) will achieve a detailed understanding and consensus definition of autistic burnout by consulting content experts - autistic adults with lived experience of burnout. We will also gather data on antecedents, sequelae and support strategies.
    2. Identify scale and risk factors of autistic burnout: Using the Australian Longitudinal Study of Adults with Autism (ALSAA) Wave 3 data gathering (or a separate online survey if timelines do not align) we will identify an indicative prevalence rate and risk factors of autistic burnout, leading to clinical recommendations and public awareness.
    3. Translate research findings into accessible materials (such as infographics and /or visual snapshots) to disseminate and promote positive emotional health for autistic adults, and awareness for autism researchers and clinicians.
    Effective start/end date1/11/191/11/20