Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt

Second Committee Member

Rachel Robnett

Third Committee Member

Shane Kraus

Fourth Committee Member

Courtney Carter

Number of Pages



In the US, people of color (PoC) are consistently the targets of microaggressions, a form of everyday racism (Pierce et al., 1977; Chavez, 2013) manifested in brief, commonplace, daily slights and indignities (Sue et al., 2007). After the 2016 elections, Americans immediately reported an increase in social tensions across racial groups (Pew Research, 2017). Latinxs, in particular, reported a steep rise in experiences with racial and ethnic discrimination (Gomez & Perez Huber, 2019; Jones et al., 2019), particularly around the context of immigration status (Santos et al., 2021). No previous research, however, has explored the experience of assumed illegality based on immigration status within everyday exchanges. To fill this gap in research, this thesis aimed to define and measure a Presumed Illegal Microaggressive Experience (PrIME) as microaggressions used in normalized rhetoric (e.g., casual conversation, jokes, confrontations, assumptions) weaponizing immigration status assumptions based on racial and ethnic features. Using two independent studies (n = 757; n = 252), I conducted factorial analyses (exploratory and confirmatory) to validate a new 6-item Likert scale that measures PrIME. Furthermore, I explored the impact of PrIME on mental health and also how frequent Latinx experienced these everyday slights to justify the scale construction. Our results validated the construction and development of the PrIME Scale, demonstrated predictive ability for mental health outcomes, and showed that Latinx individuals experienced higher PrIME than other racial or ethnic groups. The PrIME scale is introduced as a novel racial microaggressions psychometric that measures immigration-status-related attacks targeting PoC in the US. Limitations and implications are discussed.


discrimination; immigration status; Latinx; microaggressions; psychometrics; racism



File Format


File Size

1152 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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