So just for fun I took the CAT-Q test, and I'm disgusted

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WhatTheHey
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18 Jun 2021, 10:00 pm

So just for fun I took the CAT-Q test, and I'm disgusted.

I got an overall score of 144. A compensation score of 54. A masking score of 41. And an assimilation score of 49. All of which means I mask like crazy all the time, and I can only think "no wonder I'm exhausted all the time!"

I used to wonder sometimes why I felt "different" around other people than I do when I know I'm able to just be myself. And now I know.

It also makes me mad because I apparently do a heck of a lot to be "ok" for other people, but when I don't have it in me to "mask" for them, they want me to "shape up", or "buck up", or pay more attention to them.

Kinda torques me off.


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Mona Pereth
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21 Jun 2021, 5:33 am

I took the CAT-Q just now and got the following:

CAT-Q total: 79
Compensation: 28
Masking: 25
Assimilation: 26

I've never been much of a masker.


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Soliloquist
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21 Jun 2021, 7:09 am

CAT-Q: 52
Compensation: 16
Masking: 9
Assimilation: 27

Quote:
Compensation

Compensation is basically the acquisition and application of social skills through internalizing scripts. I would say this is nothing more than learning and using social skills. However, it’s compensating in that it’s an effort to internalize social rules that aren’t intuitive to us. Since it takes a deliberate effort to respond appropriately in social settings, it can be immensely exhausting to participate. Compensation probably doesn’t go directly at the expense of the self. Yet the draining nature of this process can still impact our mental health.

Masking

Masking is the active suppression of the telltale signs of anxiety and (other) autistic features in order to maintain the appearance of confidence and social prowess. If you look at the individual items of masking listed in the social camouflaging model, they don’t seem that insidious. For example, monitoring your face and body to appear interested in others is something presumably most people do. But what if your face looks naturally uninterested, so your neutral look often causes awkward situations or even ends up hurting people? What if your tendency to look away from other people’s eyes is perceived as you showing deception or a lack of confidence?

Yes, we all regulate our responses to each other. But while a lot of our social behaviors are intuitively understood by others, people aren’t trained to understand autistic social behaviors. Since our autonomic responses can deviate from what people expect, autistic people are often confronted with the choice to inhibit their intuitive responses, and express themselves in ways we’ve learned other people have come to expect. As you can imagine, this is even more draining to maintain. And it’s a lot less superficial than compensation. Compensation is trying to keep up with others socially. But masking is hiding aspects of ourselves in order to fit in, or simply to make social interactions go smoothly. If we don’t mask, we risk being excluded.

If you mask less, as an autistic person you might find people click with you less, which can have a lot of consequences for personal relationships, your career, and more. But if you mask more, you may start feeling like you have to alter who you really are for people to like engaging with you.

Assimilation

Assimilation is all about trying to fit in. This is masking on a much deeper level, as it’s no longer about covering up some proclivities, but about presenting as someone you are not, so as to avoid being excluded. In assimilation, you have to force yourself to engage socially, or avoid it altogether. To the extent you do force yourself to engage, you basically have to put up a performance. Some autistic women reported they consciously “cloned” themselves based on a popular girl in their class whilst at school, and would imitate their conversational style, intonation, movements, dress-style, interests, and other mannerisms, in minute detail.

Camouflaging is a common social strategy in autism. Some of it is part of social skills, but a substantial part of camouflaging negatively impacts autistic people’s wellbeing, either because it constantly drains them, or because it actively eats at their soul. And while you may hear a lot about masking, interestingly but also worryingly, autistic people actually score highest on assimilation—the most insidious aspect of camouflaging.


Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q)



magz
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21 Jun 2021, 7:22 am

It's an interesting observation that once you know you're capable of masking, doing less of it can lead to improvement in your relationships with others.
A very useful thing with was giving up trying to look like a woman my age is supposed to look and adopting overtly nerdy style. It makes strangers acting less offended when I make some random faux pas.
Explaining my sensory issues to others ("I'm sorry, I hear everything louder than people normally do and the noise here is painful for me. Can we go elsewhere?") instead of trying to conceal and not feel also helps.
It is still useful to mask e.g. at airport checks and other places where blending in makes life easier but among the people who are supposed to know me, giving them some awarness of who I really am and what I really need makes life easier long-term.


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Steve1963
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21 Jun 2021, 7:32 am

CAT-Q:137
Compensation:38
Masking:50
Assimilation:49



neilinmich
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21 Jun 2021, 7:46 am

I took the Cat-q test today.
Compensation 108
Masking 27
Assimilation 50
Total 185

Compensation is 108 because I fear interacting with people. I have climbed over a fence just to avoid interacting with someone (they were nice people). It feels like I would jump out of window if I had to. Nothing good results with me interacting with others.
I don't have to mask that much because I avoid interactions whenever I can. I did very well during the pandemic lockdown.



Udinaas
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21 Jun 2021, 10:27 am

CAT-Q: 99
Compensation: 31
Masking: 40
Assimilation: 28

I focus on having normal mannerisms but not on being normal overall, more on being a socially acceptable version of myself.



HeroOfHyrule
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21 Jun 2021, 10:46 am

My score from last year:
My total was 137, compensation was 47, masking was 47, and assimilation was 43.

I try to mask a lot, or at least used to.


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I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


dragonsanddemons
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21 Jun 2021, 3:05 pm

Total: 127
Compensation: 30
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 50

Several questions were partly true for me, for example I am very aware of my body and closely monitor my expressions and such, but I don’t try to look relaxed, just not particularly standing out in any way. I can’t make myself appear relaxed, but I try to at least not appear unsociable. I do not attempt to appear “normal” because I have learned very well that I can’t ever pull that off, but I also hide the “real me.” I don’t so much “mask” as “hide,” I don’t really have anything to try to put up instead. I don’t pretend to have traits I don’t (such as being relaxed or at ease in social situations) but at the same time I try not to display traits I do have (things that others would judge me harshly for). Can’t fit in, so I settle for simply not standing out. I don’t mimic or script, but I learn from trial and error what not to do and apply that. The majority of it is primarily subconscious, too, I don’t really know how not to be essentially invisible anymore. Probably factoring into my lack of trying to be anything but invisible is that I already have people constantly overestimating me and minimizing my difficulties and don’t need to be making them do that even more.

I also mostly “cope” by avoiding socialization altogether. Nothing really changed for me with the pandemic except that everyone else started staying in too.


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BeaArthur
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22 Jun 2021, 12:56 pm

I don't see any evidence that CAT-Q corrects for response traits such as "social desirability" or agreement bias (tending to agree on everything). In fact, since the subject matter of the test is how much you try to be socially desirable (conventional), this is a serious confound in the test.

In other words - don't make too much of this instrument.


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Dr_Manhattan
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26 Jun 2021, 12:04 am

Total: 150.0
Compensation: 59.0
Masking: 40.0
Assimilation: 51.0



traven
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27 Jun 2021, 2:02 am

looking at that, it looked like a nt-test
to me
im weird

it even stated that nt women mask the least, now you know that's bonkers & the wrong end of the stick,
really 8) 8O 8) 8O 8) :mrgreen: :nerdy: :D

lets all pretend to be very guillible
maybe then we can be "officially autistic"

but the money is good
or



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27 Jun 2021, 10:34 am

Was bored.

Total - 72.0
Compensation - 27.0
Masking - 18.0
Assimilation - 27.0


I don't do body language monitoring, rehearsals, scripting or whatnot. :lol:

When I socialize, I do it as I go with references at the back of my head; as few as relevant as possible and when I feel like it.



Many of my first to notice things are internal; feelings, sensations, thoughts, compulsions and urges, touch, taste, movement, space and gravity...

One who prioritizes masking usually notices the external and manage the external first and foremost for the sake of passing, contrary to the internal.

I don't. I spent most of my life trying to manage the internal and neglect the external.

The external part is easier for me for purely kinesthetic reasons.
This is basically luck in my case; I'm not one of the clumsy types, the highly alexithymic types, or the NVLD types who would struggle in this area.

The internal part I struggle more and these internal signals are harder to ignore than whatever outside source being stirred from. :|


So... If I get to be capable of blending in and able to truly socialize, I don't need acting skills.
I need emotional and sensory regulation instead.


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EEngineer75
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27 Jun 2021, 8:33 pm

CAT-Q Total: 77 (---much less than everyone)
Compensation: 19 (---much less than everyone)
Masking: 19 (---much less than everyone)
Assimilation: 39 (~avg of autistic men)

Hmm, I'm not sure what to make of this--other than I knew I've never been much at intentionally imitating or even observing people.

I rarely observe people or even look at them, and I've finally begun to realize it's because of either an inability and/or anxiety block about not being able to think or talk if I try to concentrate on someone, their non-verbal communications and/or imagining their thoughts.

I can speak and socialize fairly well--IF it's either about an interesting topic OR IF the rules and/or topic of the socializing are clear to me (e.g. cub scouts, parents' @ sporting events for young kids, job interviews, volunteer activity w/ other new volunteers).

(Thanks, Soliloquist, for the summary descriptions.)


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30 Jun 2021, 2:53 pm

Well, I'm bored so...

CAT-Q:83 (lower than both groups)
Compensation:28 (in between male and female NT average scores)
Masking:36 (average male NT score)
Assimilation:19 (lower than both groups)


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WhatTheHey
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01 Jul 2021, 12:16 pm

magz wrote:
It's an interesting observation that once you know you're capable of masking, doing less of it can lead to improvement in your relationships with others.
A very useful thing with was giving up trying to look like a woman my age is supposed to look and adopting overtly nerdy style. It makes strangers acting less offended when I make some random faux pas.
Explaining my sensory issues to others ("I'm sorry, I hear everything louder than people normally do and the noise here is painful for me. Can we go elsewhere?") instead of trying to conceal and not feel also helps.
It is still useful to mask e.g. at airport checks and other places where blending in makes life easier but among the people who are supposed to know me, giving them some awarness of who I really am and what I really need makes life easier long-term.


This was amazing insight. Thanks for sharing that. I'm going to start considering how to put this into practice as fits my own life.


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