Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The majority of literature on the impact of microaggressions focuses on ethnic minority stereotypes with little research on how microaggressions and negative stereotypes affect other types of minority groups, such as minorities based on social group. Additionally, within the literature on general group membership, it has been found that social disapproval results in the typical, global response of negative affect. However, the behaviors that are evoked by the negative affect differ considerably among individuals whether the response is to strengthen, maintain, or avoid interpersonal conflict (Richman & Leary, 2009). Moreover, there is no single model that can conceptualize the complexity of these responses (Richman & Leary, 2009). Therefore, the present study sought to understand the impact of a microaggression on students affiliated with Greek life at a southeastern university by focusing on how group identification, need to belong, and collective self-esteem are affected according to an individual’s identity processing style. While the microaggression did not appear to impact participants’ group identification or collective self-esteem, it did interact with an informational identity processing style to predict participants’ need to belong. This research supports that even within a minority population, people react differently. Thus, strategies to help individuals within a minority group that have stereotype-related experiences may need to differ based on characteristics, such as identity processing style.