Racial microaggressions, racial identity, social support, and belonging of Black psychology doctoral students

Allyson Kelley Regis, Fordham University


Over the past 15 years, increased attention has been given to achieving greater ethnic diversity within graduate schools—particularly within the field of psychology. Of the various types of race-related experiences that may impact the engagement and performance of minority graduate students, racial microaggressions (subtle/covert forms of racism) may be among the most important. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between experiences of racial microaggressions, Black racial identity, perceived social support, and sense of belonging in graduate school of Black doctoral students in psychology. Participants were 172 psychology doctoral students who self-identified as Black and had completed at least one year in their current doctoral program. Participants completed an online survey which contained a demographic questionnaire, the Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale, Cross Racial Identity Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and Sense of Belonging Instrument–Psychological Subscale. The results indicated that students who perceived more experiences of microaggressions in the workplace/school domain reported less sense of belonging in their doctoral program. Second, perceived social support was not found to moderate the effects of microaggressions on sense of belonging. Lastly, there were mixed results with some racial identity attitudes found to be correlated with both experiences of microaggressions and sense of belonging. Directions for future research, limitations, and implications for: (a) understanding these students’ unique experiences of graduate school and (b) facilitating recruitment and retention of Black students in the psychology pipeline in order to better serve an increasingly diverse population are also discussed.

Subject Area

African American Studies|Educational psychology|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Regis, Allyson Kelley, "Racial microaggressions, racial identity, social support, and belonging of Black psychology doctoral students" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3716165.