Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2019

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Degree Program

Clinical Psychology, PhD

Committee Chair

Meeks, Suzanne

Committee Member

Brooms, Derrick

Committee Member

Rosen, Paul

Committee Member

Salmon, Paul

Committee Member

Woodruff-Borden, Janet

Author's Keywords

discrimination; emotion regulation; mindfulness; microaggressions

Abstract

Racial microaggressions are defined as subtle racial insults or slights that racial minorities may encounter daily, communicating negative messages to victims. Perceiving discrimination has been associated with negative outcomes in racial minorities such as symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, and low self-esteem. Previous research has suggested emotion regulation and psychological symptoms as playing significant roles in the experience of discrimination. Research has yet to identify specific emotion regulation tactics that might offset the harm of racial microaggressions. Mindfulness and self-compassion have been found to buffer the negative emotional impact of chronic stressors that are similar to racial microaggressions. The current study sought to investigate the emotional impact of racial microaggressions in a sample of 91 racial minority participants. Results indicated that experiential avoidance, negative affect, anger rumination, mindfulness, self-compassion, and emotion regulation were each found to partially explain relationships between microaggressions and psychological symptoms (social anxiety, trauma, depression), and provided preliminary evidence for emotion regulation tools as reducing emotional distress in response to microaggressions. Limitations and future implications are discussed.

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