Date of Award
Campus Access Thesis
Master of Arts (MA)
Emerging research supports that racial microaggressions, or subtle forms of racism, can have a detrimental impact on the mental health of people of color. This study specifically sought to explore how coping and racial identity importance impact the relation between racial microaggression distress and depressive symptoms. I hypothesized that greater racial microaggression distress would predict increased depressive symptoms. Further, I predicted that this relation will be moderated by gender; such that there would be a stronger positive association between microaggression distress and depressive symptoms in women, compared to men. Additionally, I predicted that there would a moderated moderation of the relation between microaggression distress and depression based on social support and racial identity importance, such that those with lower social support and lower racial identity importance would experience more depressive symptoms than those with higher social support coping and higher racial identity importance. To test these hypotheses, I conducted secondary data analyses of an Institutional Review Board-approved online national study examining resistance and empowerment against racism. Criminality, sexualization, low achieving/undesirable culture, invisibility, and environmental racial microaggression distress each were found to predict increased depressive symptoms. Gender moderated the relation between foreigner/not belonging racial microaggression distress and depressive symptoms. There was a stronger correlation between foreigner/not belonging racial microaggression distress and reports of depressive symptoms for men with higher levels of distress than men with lower levels of distress and women, regardless of their level of racial microaggression distress. Racial identity importance moderated the relation between foreigner/not belonging racial microaggression distress and depressive symptoms among females; however, further probing did not reveal any significant differences in the effect of foreigner/not belonging racial microaggression distress on depressive symptoms across levels of racial identity importance. Engagement in social support coping did not interact with racial identity importance to moderate the relation between racial microaggression distress and depressive symptoms.
Hughley, Shannon M., "Racial Microaggression Distress and Depression among Black Americans: Examining the Roles of Racial Identity Importance, Social Support, and Gender" (2019). Graduate Masters Theses. 570.