Connect to Protect: The Moderating Role of Connectedness on Gendered Racial Microaggressions and Vigilance Among Black Women
Bryant, Lamont, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Avery, Lanice, Psychology, University of Virginia
Leath, Seanna, Psychology, University of Virginia
Black women’s experiences of gendered racial microaggressions can contribute to adverse health outcomes via maladaptive behavioral reactions, such as vigilant stress responses. Yet, fewer scholars have examined how Black women’s ability to create community with others offline and on social media may offer them the opportunity to unpack their experiences of gendered racial microaggressions and reduce the frequency of vigilant stress responses. The following study addressed this gap by examining how interpersonal connections, as a form of advantageous coping, mitigated Black women’s stress responses to gendered racial microaggressions. Additionally, the study examined the distinct ways that connectedness mitigated the relationship between Black women’s stress responses to gendered racial microaggressions. Black women (N = 1595, ages 18-30 years old) reported on their experiences of gendered racial microaggressions, vigilant stress responses, and feelings of social connectedness with others including online connectedness via Twitter. Hierarchical linear regression analysis indicated that stressful and frequent experiences of gendered racial microaggressions were significantly linked with increased race related vigilance, and connectedness to others moderated the relation between the frequency and stressfulness of gendered racial microaggressions and vigilance. The analysis also indicated that Black women who felt more connectedness on Twitter reported less vigilance in response to stressful gendered racial microaggressions, however more connectedness on Twitter did not lessen vigilance in response to frequent gendered racial microaggressions. Findings suggested that emotional connectedness may shield Black women from some forms of everyday gendered racism and its detrimental relationship with vigilant stress responses.
MA (Master of Arts)
Black women, gendered racial microaggressions, connectedness, vigilance, Twitter