Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Nicholas Papouchis

Committee Chair and Members

Nicholas Papouchis, Chair

Sara Haden

Joan Duncan


Discrimination, Mentalized affectivity Microaggressions, Perceived racism, Self-compassion, Self-worth


Research has established a relationship between experiences of discrimination in Black Americans and negative outcomes in physical and mental health. Studies in this branch of the literature have largely relied on self-reports or qualitative methods for assessing these relationships. This study took a different approach and utilized an experimental model, presenting video vignettes depicting microaggressions as a stimulus meant to activate the affective reactions that arise when individuals experience microaggressions in the real world. Experiences of microaggressions and perceived racism were used to assess participants’ lifetime experiences of discrimination and compared to their levels of explicit and implicit negative affect at baseline and after viewing the vignettes. Mentalized affectivity, self-compassion, and self-worth were proposed as potential intrapsychic protective factors that could protect against an increase in negative affect following viewing the vignettes. Results showed a significant increase in implicit negative affect after viewing vignettes however there was no significant change in explicit negative affect. Mentalized affectivity and self-worth did not moderate the relationship between experiences of discrimination and negative affect, while selfcompassion only buffered the relationship between experiences of microaggressions and explicit negative affect. The discussion emphasized studying the discrimination – outcome relationship in Black Americans in an experimental design.