Being a woman is 100% significant to my experiences of ADHD and autism: Exploring the gendered implications of an adulthood AuDHD diagnosis

Craddock, Emma (2024) Being a woman is 100% significant to my experiences of ADHD and autism: Exploring the gendered implications of an adulthood AuDHD diagnosis. Qualitative Health Research. ISSN 1049-7323 (In Press)

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This article provides original insight into women’s experiences of adulthood diagnoses of ADHD and autism (AuDHD). Research exploring experiences of adulthood diagnoses of these conditions is emerging. Yet, there is no research about the gendered experiences of an adulthood AuDHD diagnosis. This article addresses this gap through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of email interviews with 6 late-diagnosed AuDHD women revealing the complex interplay between late diagnosis, being a woman, and combined diagnoses of ADHD and autism. It underscores how gender norms and stereotypes contribute to the oversight and dismissal of women’s neurodivergence. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis reveals the inextricability of femininity and neurotypicality, the gendered burden, discomfort, and adverse consequences of masking, along with the adverse outcomes of insufficient masking. Being an undiagnosed AuDHD woman is a confusing and traumatising experience with profound and enduring repercussions. The impact of female hormones exacerbated participants’ struggles with (peri)menopause often being a catalyst for seeking diagnosis after decades of trauma. The epistemic injustice of not knowing they were neurodivergent compounded this trauma. Diagnosis enabled participants to overcome epistemic injustice and moved them into a feminist standpoint from which they challenge gendered inequalities relating to neurodiversity. This article aims to increase understanding and representation of late-diagnosed AuDHD women’s lived experiences. The findings advocate for trauma-informed pre- and post-diagnosis support which addresses the gendered dimension of women's experiences of being missed and dismissed as neurodivergent. There needs to be better clinical and public understanding of how AuDHD presents in women to prevent epistemic injustice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: accepted for publication in Qualitative Health Research (Sage)
14 May 2024Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: ADHD, autism, AuDHD, gender, adulthood diagnosis, feminism, epistemic injustice, standpoint theory, co-morbidity
Subjects: CAH02 - subjects allied to medicine > CAH02-04 - nursing and midwifery > CAH02-04-01 - nursing (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Nursing and Midwifery
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 22 May 2024 09:04
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 09:04

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