Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Introduction: Microaggressions, subtle and implicit forms of racism, are postulated to influence physical, mental health and educational outcomes. Research suggests that racial hostility within campus settings negatively impacts educational success of diverse students. The experience of microaggressions may differ between males and females, but more research is needed among college students to determine how biological sex impacts these experiences. This study examines the role of biological sex in the experience of microaggressions among Black/African American and Latinx college students. We examine the total effect of microaggressions on Black/African American and Latinx college students and whether sex moderates’ potential differences in these experiences. Methods: Undergraduates were recruited from Psychology Department Participant Pools at two universities (Latinx n=221 and Black/African American n=194). Participants completed a one-hour assessment battery that included the 45-item Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale Checklist. Course credit was earned for participation. Each item was scored dichotomously and was summed to create five composite subscales (assumptions of inferiority; second class citizenship; microinvalidations; assumptions of similarity and workplace/school microaggressions) and one total microaggression score. To examine the total effect of experiencing microaggressions moderated by sex and controlling for site, a MANCOVA was completed. To protect against a type I error, the threshold for statistical significance was p < 0.01. Results: Participants were primarily female (n=280, 73.5%) with a mean age of 20.6 years old (SD=4.06). The MANCOVA results indicated significant interaction effects for ethnicity and biological sex, Wilk's Λ=0.95, F (5, 372)= 3.425, p<0.01. In comparison to Latinx participants and Black/African American females, Black/African American men were significantly more likely to experience second class citizenship F (1, 376) =10.261,p<0.01 and total microaggressions, F (1, 376) = 9.607, p<0.01. Compared with the rest of the sample, Latinx women endorsed higher similarity microaggressions, F (1, 376) = 8.895,p<0.01. Conclusion: The health-related impact of microaggressions is still largely unknown. This investigation provides preliminary evidence that the type of microaggressions college students of color encounter differ with respect to race and biological sex and may be important to consider to improve both educational and health outcomes for students. Future research may examine the effects of phenotype, historical oppression, immigrant and language status on experiences of microaggressions and relevant biopsychosocial outcomes.