An Attributional Model of Responses to Microaggressions: Implications for Individuals and Organizations

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Microaggressions are defined as everyday occurrences that intentionally or unintentionally denigrate persons of color (Sue et al., 2007). As they represent the new covert and politically correct form of racism, microaggressions can take one of three forms: microinsult, microassault, and microinvalidation. At their core is the communication of hostility and a perception of inferiority. This paper will present an attributional model of responses to these microaggressions. This model not only explores the recognition and appraisal of microaggressions, but also offers evidence of secondary outcomes that cover three primary domains: affective (e.g., anxiety), cognitive (e.g., decreased liking, satisfaction), and behavioral (e.g., interpersonal withdrawal). Aspects of the victim (or bystander) and the perpetrator are incorporated into the model. Applications of the model will be discussed. At the individual level, there are implications for minority mental health as experiences with racism create varying levels of distress. Additionally, in light of increased intercultural contact, an understanding of these occurrences and an increased ability to recognize them would serve to enhance interpersonal acumen in a number of social settings (e.g., work, community). From an organizational standpoint, an understanding of these concepts yields the development of more effective approaches and tools to manage an ever-diversifying workforce.


Keywords: Experiences of Racism, Responses/Outcomes to Racism, Attributions, Intercultural Relations, Management of Diversity
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Matthew J. Taylor

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri, USA


Dr. Thomas Fletcher

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri, USA


Ref: D08P0130