Author

Kinjal Pandya

Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Cheryl Armstead

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed methods study was to develop a measure of gender and racial microaggressions among university women of color (WOC). Microaggressions are conceptualized as verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights that can be intentional or unintentional, but communicate derogatory messages towards a group of marginalized people. Despite many qualitative, legal, and narrative reports of microaggressions against university WOC, there are no validated measures specific to the experiences of WOC in academic settings. This study attempts to fill that gap by creating and testing the factor structure of a measure of microaggressions experienced by university WOC. Phase I of the study focused on review of qualitative published sources regarding microaggressions to generate items for three focus groups conducted with staff, faculty, and graduate students. All qualitative data was analyzed and coded by the PI. Scale items were generated and revised based on thematic analysis of the focus group responses. The preliminary measure consisted of 51 items and was administered to WOC graduate students, faculty (tenured and non-tenured) and staff via a 15-minute online survey. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted (n=248) to determine performance of items and factor structure. Results indicated a 4-factor solution that explained 56% of the variance in the scale items. The four factors were named, 1) Marginalization and Exclusion, 2) Emotional Reactivity, 3) Diversity Tax, and 4) Implicit Institutional Bias. It is our hope that this measure will aid in identifying the types and frequency of microaggressions women of color report in efforts to create interventions to improve campus inclusivity and retention of the diverse academic workforce.

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