Gendered Racial Microaggressions and Self-Silencing Associated with Suicidality Among Black Women Living with HIV

Monai Thompson, Sannisha K. Dale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Black women represent the majority of women living with HIV in the USA and their risk for suicide may be linked to the impact of psychosocial stressors experienced at the intersection of race and gender such as gendered racial microaggressions (GRMS) and silencing the self (to maintain harmony). However, little research has been done on the relationship between microaggressions, self-silencing, and suicidality among BWLWH. As part of an intervention development study, 119 BWLWH in the Southeastern USA completed a baseline assessment consisting of a clinical interview (e.g., Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview) to assess suicidality, the gendered-racial microaggressions scale (GRMS), and the Silencing the Self-Scale. Multivariate linear regression analyses controlling for age and education indicated that higher microaggression appraisal scores on the GRMS scale (β = 2.80, p <.01) was associated with current suicidality and higher self-silencing was associated with current suicidality (β = 1.05, p <.01) and lifetime suicidality (β = 1.03, p <.01). Additional analyses that included major depression indicated that self-silencing uniquely contributed to suicidality above and beyond depression. Our findings support the importance of understanding how gender and race specific factors may relate to suicidality. Future research is needed to examine potential moderating factors (e.g., coping strategies) that may be enhanced through interventions and structural changes are needed to decrease acts of microaggressions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Black women
  • HIV
  • Microaggressions
  • Silencing
  • Suicidality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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