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Microaggressions are daily slights and denigrations perpetrated towards marginalized individuals. These invalidations are perceived as significant stressors for marginalized people. The bulk of research on microaggressions indicates that these everyday slights can have a negative impact on mental health. The current study examines the relationship between microaggressions, detachment internalized racism, and negative mental health symptoms of depression, anxiety and depression. Specifically, regression analysis was used to investigate the hypothesis that both internalization and detachment mediate the effect of microaggressions on poor mental health symptoms for PoC. Results indicated that for PoC, microaggressions was a significant predictor of symptoms of both internalization, B = .071, SE = .021, p = .000, and detachment B = .276, SE = .029, p = .000. Additionally both internalization B = .389, SE = .070, p = .000 and detachment B = .869, SE = .082, p = .000 were a significant predictor for poor mental health symptoms. Results support a partial mediational hypothesis. Microaggression was a significant predictor of poor mental health even when controlling for both mediators, B = .285, SE = .042, p = .000. Approximately 26% of the variance in satisfaction was accounted for by the predictors (R2 = .261). The procedure yielded a significant coefficient, B = .182, SE = .038, p = .000 with 95% bias corrected confidence intervals that did not include zero [.108, .256]. These results suggest that racial discrimination experienced by PoC exposes them to higher risks of both poorer mental health and negative coping mechanisms.

Publication Date

Spring 2021




Microaggressions; Racism; Coping mechanisms; Discrimination


Psychiatry and Psychology

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1881 KB


Faculty Mentor: Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt, Ph.D.

A Mediation Analysis of Racial Microaggressions, Poor Coping Mechanisms and Mental Health