Gendered Racial Microaggressions Predict Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Cognitions Among Black Women Living With HIV

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9 Scopus citations


Objective: Gendered racial microaggression (GRM) experienced by Black women living with HIV (BWLWH) is a potentially important variable for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology in this population. GRM refers to everyday insults experienced by Black women on the basis of being both Black and female (e.g., comments about Black women's hair and body). We investigated the associations between GRM, race- and HIV-related discrimination, and trauma symptoms among BWLWH and explored whether gendered racial microaggressions contributed uniquely to trauma symptoms above the contribution of race- and HIV-related discrimination. Method: One-hundred BWLWH in the U.S. completed baseline measures on GRM (frequency and appraisal), racial discrimination, HIV-related discrimination, PTSD symptoms, and posttraumatic cognitions. Results: Hierarchical multiple linear regressions controlling for age, education, and income indicated that higher GRM and HIV-related discrimination predicted higher total PTSD symptoms, and higher GRM and racial discrimination predicted higher posttraumatic cognitions. Hierarchical multiple linear regressions with all predictors entered together revealed that only GRM contributed uniquely to both total PTSD symptoms and total posttraumatic cognitions. Analyses between GRM subscales and subscales of PTSD symptoms and posttraumatic cognitions indicated that GRM about beauty/sexual objectification and the strong Black women stereotype contributed uniquely and in interesting ways to PTSD symptoms and posttraumatic cognitions. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of addressing intersectional adversities such as GRM for BWLWH, as well as recognizing the role that GRM may play in mental health symptoms for Black women. Future research and intervention efforts aimed at improving the well-being of BWLWH should address GRM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Black women
  • Discrimination
  • HIV
  • Microaggressions
  • Trauma symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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