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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 60 (2018) 8, 536 - 543


Biology and context. Experiences of adults diagnosed with autism

K. Hens, R. Langenberg

background Most of the research in autism focuses on finding biological explanations. Far less is known about what it means to live with the diagnosis.
aim To describe the impact of diagnosing autism during adulthood.
method We interviewed 22 adults diagnosed with autism in order to understand how people experience and evaluate themselves, how they experienced the diagnostic process and how the diagnosis helps them to tackle problems in their everyday functioning.
results A diagnosis of autism has an impact on how people reflect on their identity and on their relation to others in their environment.
conclusion Autism is a complex and multilayered concept that is biologically real and yet flexible enough to help people understand themselves better without having to coincide with the diagnosis.

keywords ambiguity, autism, diagnosis, experience