Sexist Microaggressions: Traumatic Stressors Mediated by Self-Compassion

Marcus A. Cherry, Melanie M. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Women regularly endure sexist microaggressions, which are often associated with anger, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and trauma. The cumulative effects of sexist microaggressions may result in internalized sexism and undermine self-compassion. Notably, prolonged exposure to sexism is associated with trauma symptoms; however, the traumatic effects of sexist microaggressions have remained largely theoretical. Thus, we examined the role of sexist microaggressions as a traumatic stressor and evaluated self-compassion and internalized misogyny as mediators of sexism-based traumatic stress. With a sample of 370 adult cisgender women, results suggested that sexist microaggressions significantly and positively predicted trauma symptomology, and that this relationship was partially mediated by self-compassion but not internalized misogyny. Results supported sexism as a traumatic stressor, and low self-compassion as a mechanism through which sexist microaggressions result in traumatic stress. We discuss implications for research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCounseling Psychologist
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • microaggressions
  • self-compassion
  • sexism
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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