Theses Doctoral

Microaggressions and Health Outcomes for Latina/o Americans: Understanding the Influences of External Characteristics and Psychological Resources

Rivera, David Paul

Despite their rapid growth, Latina/o Americans still experience disparities in most social, economic, employment, and educational spheres in American society. These include disparities in mental and physical health outcomes. Previous research makes a convincing argument for perceived discrimination being associated with these poor health outcomes. Scholars propose that the manifestation of discrimination has changed over the decades from a predominantly overt form to a more subtle, covert form, known as microaggression. Additionally, given the within-group differences inherent in this population, it is possible that various characteristics and psychological resources might influence the magnitude of experiences with microaggressions and health outcomes for Latina/o Americans. The present study investigated, 1) a specific type of discrimination, microaggressions, experienced by Latina/o Americans, and 2) the various within-group characteristics (skin color, Spanish language use, and accent) and psychological resources (ethnic identity and social support) that might inform health outcomes for Latina/o Americans. A path model, as well as moderation tests, explored these relationships with a sample of 328 Latina/o Americans. The results indicated support for the paths between accent and perceived microaggressions, as well as between perceived microaggressions and mental health outcomes. Additionally, the moderation tests indicated that social support moderated the relationship between perceived microaggressions and physical health outcomes. The results of the present study contribute to the literature on microaggressions by providing quantitative support for the harmful effects of microaggressions and expanding the knowledge base concerning various dynamics involved in the microaggression process for Latina/o Americans.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Counseling Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Sue, Derald W.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 23, 2012