Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Renee V. Galliher


Renee V. Galliher


Tyler Lefevor


Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez


LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or other meaningful self-labeled sexual and gender identities) individuals experience daily stressors (e.g., discrimination, violence, hypervigilance, negative expectations) that contribute to poorer mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety, posttraumatic symptoms, substance). For LGBTQ+ people of color (POC), identifying with multiple intersecting marginalized identities creates unique experiences of inequality that expose them to additional stressors, contributing to poorer mental health outcomes. Perceiving microaggressions, daily brief, everyday assaults on marginalized individuals, about one’s identity has been found to have negative mental health effects. TGD (transgender and gender diverse) POC face exposure to multiple types of microaggressions against specific components of their identity (racist, heterosexist, gendered), and the literature about the effects of these microaggressions on their mental health and potential protective factors is limited. Previous literature has linked identity affirmation, the process of developing positive feelings towards one’s identity, and community connectedness (LGBTQ+ and TGD specific) with positive mental health outcomes.

This study investigated how racist, heterosexist, and gendered microaggressions relate to anxiety and depression outcomes for LGBTQ+ POC. It also explored how the factors of identity affirmation and LGBTQ+ and TGD community connectedness might change or influence this relationship. Identity affirmation, LGBTQ+ community connectedness, and TGD community connectedness did not modify the strong, positive relationships of perceived racist, heterosexist, and gendered microaggressions with anxiety and depression for both LGBTQ+ POC and TGD POC. Additional exploratory analyses revealed that identity affirmation may partially mediate the relationships between racial microaggressions and anxiety and depression and between heterosexist microaggressions and depression for LGBTQ+ POC. Racial and heterosexist microaggressions may undermine the potential protective effect of identity affirmation, thus, contributing to poorer mental health outcomes for LGBTQ+ POC.



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