Title: Microaggressions as Psychological Violence: Qualitative Interviews with Black, Latina and Asian Professional Women and Graduate Students

Abstract

Introduction: Microaggressions are commonplace verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities. They are hostile, whether intentional or unintentional, and communicate racial insults that have harmful psychological impact on the targeted individuals. Previous studies have investigated experiences of microaggressions primarily among college students. There remains a dearth of research into microaggressions among professional women of color who hold either graduate degrees or are doctoral-level students. ææPurpose: The present study aims to explore the experience of microaggressions among professionals and graduate students who identify as women of color. Specifically, the study proposes to do the following: 1) examine the extent to which hyper vigilance, depression symptoms, feelings of isolation, and diminished work performance are the after-effects of microaggressions, 2) identify a range of coping responses and, 3) address the intersections and contradictions of microaggressions across race, ethnicity, and class. ææMethods: As of February 13, 2013 a total of 20 semi-structured interviews have been completed. Some of the interview questions include ñHave you ever experienced a microaggression in class or at work?î ñHow did you respond?î and ñHow did the situation make you feel?îInterviews were tape-recorded and transcribed for data analyses. Additional interviews are ongoing and data analysis is in progress. ææImplications: Results will inform future and practicing psychologists and service providers on the impact of microaggressions on professionals and graduate students identifying as women of color and will also encourage higher education administrators to create environments that are safer and more conducive to learning for these populations.