The relationship of microaggressions with alcohol use and anxiety among ethnic minority college students in a historically White institution

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2012 Jan;18(1):45-54. doi: 10.1037/a0025457. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


Little is known about how microaggressions may impact the health and mental health of college students of color attending historically White universities. In this study, students provided self-report of the number of racial and ethnic microaggressions they had experienced over the previous month, as well as data on anxiety symptoms (Beck Anxiety Inventory), alcohol consumption (Daily Drinking Questionnaire) and consequences (Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index), and self-efficacy to cope with daily hassles (General Self-efficacy Scale) and with high risk drinking situations (Situational Confidence Questionnaire). As expected, students of color reported significantly more microaggressions than their European American counterparts. Microaggressions and self-efficacy were significantly associated with anxiety (Full Model R² = .20; p < .001), microaggressions and self-efficacy were significantly associated with binge drinking (Full Model R² = .10; p < .01), and microaggressions, binge drinking events, self-efficacy, and microaggressions × self-efficacy interaction were significantly associated with alcohol related consequences (Full Model R² = .28; p < .001) among the students of color. Results suggest that microaggressions may represent a health and mental health risk to students of color. Implications of study results and future research directions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Anxiety / ethnology
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / education
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Prejudice
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Self Efficacy
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult