Date of Graduation

5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Erin Popejoy

Committee Member

Kristi Perryman

Second Committee Member

Yvette Murphy-Erby

Third Committee Member

Paul Blisard

Keywords

Black women, Discrimination, DIversity, Microaggression, Negative interactions, Race

Abstract

Researchers have found that microaggressions can cause psychological distress, frustration, avoidance, confusion, resentment, hopelessness, and fear. Previous studies from Southern universities have addressed the adjustment experiences of Black women in graduate programs, obstacles faced by Black women in higher education and strategies to overcome those obstacles, and factors associated with Black student motivation and achievement. Discrimination and racism are factors identified in those studies, however, there is little research on the experiences of Black women in graduate programs and the impact of racial microaggressions on them.

The purpose of this study was to examine Black female graduate students’ experiences of racial microaggressions at a Southern university. Five women participated in the study, and a phenomenological research design was used to identify individual and group themes. These themes revealed the impact of racial microaggressions on the participants, as well as the campus climate. Findings suggest training opportunities and mentor programs that would improve experiences for Black female graduate students on campus.

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