Title

Examining the Factors That Influence an Individual’s Perception of Sexual Orientation Microaggressions

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

5-1-2015

Advisor

Lisa Platt, Psychology

Abstract

In the last century alone, the United States has made significant progress in the realm of social equality. While overt discrimination, such as racial slurs, are no longer appropriate in many situations, prejudice is still very present in our society, even if it is not recognized by many as being harmful. Instead, prejudice today has become more subtle. These covert and often unconscious forms of discrimination have become known as microaggressions. Much of the previous literature has focused on the effects of microaggressions on those who experience it. However, there is little to no previous literature that discusses what types of people are most likely to be aware of microaggressions. It is believed that it is crucial to understand factors that influence people’s perception of microaggressions, particularly sexual orientation microaggressions, to better understand and direct education of this topic towards those who need it most. With this information, it will be easier to plan and create useful interventions in schools and workplaces in a way that will be most effective for the target group.

The four hypotheses for this study are as follows:
1. Women will be more likely than men to perceive sexual orientation microaggressions as discriminatory
2. Levels of support for human rights related to lesbians and gay men will be positively correlated to the ability to perceive sexual orientation microaggressions as discriminatory
3. Levels of empathy will be positively correlated to the ability to perceive sexual orientation microaggressions as discriminatory
4. Levels of extrinsic religiosity will be negatively correlated to the ability to perceive sexual orientation microaggressions as discriminatory

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