Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)
First Advisor/Committee Member
Jacob Bentley, Ph.D., ABPP
Second Advisor/Committee Member
Keyne Law, Ph.D.
Third Advisor/Committee Member
Alisha Janssen, Ph.D.
Purpose/Objective: In prior research, ableist microaggressions have previously correlated with higher depressive symptoms in samples of members of the disability community. Since well-being is more than merely the absence of distressing mental health symptoms; the present study examines the relationship between ableist microaggressions and well-being and whether different coping strategies moderate the relationship. Research Method/Design: Adults (N = 132) who self-identified as having a disability or chronic health condition that significantly impacts one or more major life activities, were recruited online to complete a survey. Measures of well-being, ableist microaggressions, coping, and depression symptoms were administered via an online Qualtrics survey. Results: Participants ranged in age from 18 to 82-years-old and were Caucasian (61.4%), female (48.6%) The overall moderation model between ableist microaggressions and well-being with socially supported coping and avoidant coping as moderators with depression symptoms score and disability visibility as covariates was statistically significant F(7,124) = 16.397, p 2= .481. However, the main effect of ableist microaggression scores did not significantly predict well-being (b1 = -.093, t(124) = -.690, p =.492). Socially supported coping did predict well-being score; however, the interaction between ableist microaggression and socially supported coping was not significant. In the full sample avoidant coping did not predict well-being score. The covariates of depression symptoms and disability visibility did predict well-being. In post hoc analyses, disability visibility predicted higher ableist microaggressions score and higher well-being. The minimization factor from the ableist microaggression scale significantly predicted lower well-being scores and explained 12.7% of the variance. Conclusions/Implications: Results broadly consistent with prior literature in the common experiences of ableist microaggression for people with disabilities. The results support that socially supported coping predicts well-being, and that well-being is conceptually different than the absence of depression symptoms. Only minimization ableist microaggressions negatively correlated with well-being. Future research is needed to analyze protective factors to explain why those with more visible report more frequent ableist microaggressions and have higher well-being. Examining positive psychological constructs as an outcome variable helps expand the focus of clinical psychology to move beyond pathologizing and study what is associated with people flourishing.
Morean, Whitney, "Ableist Microaggressions and Well-being: Investigating the Moderating Effect of Coping Strategies" (2022). Clinical Psychology Dissertations. 85.