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Theses Doctoral

Measuring social invisibility and erasure: Development of the Asexual Microaggressions Scale

Foster, Aasha

The purpose of this dissertation was to create a psychometrically sound measure of asexual prejudice through microaggressions that can be used to document and identify the unique experiences of asexual people (i.e., those reporting a lack of sexual attraction towards others). Asexual prejudice encompasses anti-asexual beliefs and attitudes that stem from sexual normativity which promotes sexuality as the norm while positioning asexuality as deviant (Carrigan 2011; Chasin, 2011; Flore, 2014; Gupta, 2013). Applying Sue’s (2010) description of microaggressions, asexual microaggressions are conscious and/or unconscious daily occurrences of insults and invalidation that stem from implicit bias against asexual people and asexuality. Development of the scale included creating items with content that was derived from close readings of the literature on asexuality and related measures of discrimination, prejudice or bias as well as expert review for clarity and verifying applicability of content. A total of 738 participants participated on-line and half were randomly assigned to Phase 1 for the Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) while the other half was assigned to Phase 2 for the Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). Results of the EFA indicate a 16 item four-factor structure for the AMS that capture expectations of sexuality, denial of legitimacy, harmful visibility, and assumptions of causality as descriptors of the types of microaggressions that occur. The CFA revealed support for the AMS total score with good internal consistency and strong validity as reflected in strong positive relationships with stigma consciousness, collective self-esteem, and another measure of discrimination and bias. Combined, the AMS is a valid and reliable measure of asexual prejudice. Contextualization of these results as well as implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Counseling Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Brewster, Melanie E.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 28, 2017
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