Microaggressions in the United States

Kiara Wyndham Douds, Michael Hout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


“Microaggressions” is the term scholars and cultural commentators use to describe the ways that racism and other systems of oppression are upheld in everyday interactions. Although prior research has documented the types of microaggressions that individuals experience, we have lacked representative data on the prevalence of microaggressions in the general population. We introduce and evaluate five new survey items from the 2018 General Social Survey intended to capture five types of microaggressions. We assess the prevalence of each microaggression as well as a constructed microaggression scale across a key set of sociodemographic characteristics. We find that black Americans experience more microaggressions than other racialized groups, twice the rate of the general public for some types. Younger people report more microaggressions than older people. Women are more likely to report some types of microaggressions, and men others. Experiencing microaggressions is associated with an array of negative physical and mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-543
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Science
StatePublished - 2020


  • microaggression
  • racism
  • survey methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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