Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology: School Psychology

Committee Chair

Brea M. Banks


Ableist microaggressions are often subtle and covert negative attributions and behaviors towards people with dis/abilities that perpetuate stereotypes and inequities (Conover et al., 2021). Although limited research exists that has explored the impact of ableist microaggressions, some scholars have noted similar findings to studies to that have focused on racial microaggressions. Specifically, exposure to ableist microaggressions has been associated with negative mental health outcomes and increased negative affect, feelings of exclusion, and low academic performance and self-concept (Kattari, 2017; Kattari, 2020; Keller & Galgay, 2010; Lett et al., 2019; Nadal et al., 2014; Storey, 2007). Most of these findings have been noted among college students and adults, leaving a gap in what we know about adolescents’ experiences. As part of the current study, I sought to explore the impact of exposure to ableist microaggressions among dis/abled adolescents on their academic motivation and perceptions of school climate. I recruited 82 middle school and high school dis/abled students who completed online questionnaires that assessed for their exposure to ableist microaggressions, academic motivation, and perceptions of school climate. I hypothesized that dis/abled participants in my sample would endorse exposure to ableist microaggressions. Additionally, I hypothesized that exposure to ableist microaggressions would predict academic motivation, social relationships, and school connectedness and that race would surface as a moderator. Exposure to ableist microaggressions predicted some aspects of academic motivation and perceptions of climate. Additionally, race emerged as a significant moderator for some of the relations between exposure to ableist microaggressions and dependent variables.


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