Date of Award

Summer 8-5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

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.