Year: 2017 Source: Journal of Counseling Psychology.(2017).64(1):104-111. SIEC No: 20170062

Racial microaggressions are a contemporary form of subtle discrimination that occur in everyday exchanges, and are associated with a variety of negative mental health outcomes, including suicide ideation. Previous work (e.g., Torres-Harding, Andrade, & Romero Diaz, 2012) has identified 6 dimensions of racial microaggressions: invisibility, criminality, low-achieving/undesirable culture, sexualization, foreigner/not belonging, and environmental invalidations. The current study examined whether the 6 dimensions of racial microaggressions were associated with increased suicide ideation through perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness among 135 African American young adults. Results indicated that perceived burdensomeness, but not thwarted belongingness, mediated the relationship between 3 racial microaggression dimensions (i.e., invisibility, low-achievement/undesirable culture, and environmental invalidations) and suicide ideation. These results imply that for African American college students, experiencing certain dimensions of racial microaggressions was associated with higher levels of perceived burdensomeness, which in turn was related to increased levels of suicide ideation. Clinical and societal implications are discussed. This study found that specific types of racial microaggressions were associated with higher levels of perceptions of being a burden on others, which in turn was associated with higher levels of suicide ideation in a sample of African Americans. These findings are important as they demonstrate 1 possible avenue through which racial microaggressions can negatively impact mental health.

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