Exploring the Link Between Personality Pathology and Perception of Sexual Orientation Microaggressions



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Personality disorders are broadly impairing forms of psychopathology that affect an individual’s self-perception as well as their relationships with others. Research has previously focused on the impact that personality pathology has on interpersonal factors like emotion recognition, interpersonal style, and aggression. However, little research has focused on the relationship between maladaptive personality and discriminatory behaviors, such as microaggressions. To that end, the present study examined how personality pathology, as conceptualized by the Alternative Model for Personality Disorders, related to perceptions of social interactions depicting microaggressions against gays and lesbians. Participants in this study were presented with vignettes depicting seven types of microaggressions toward sexual identity minorities along with control vignettes to assess participants’ perceptions of the interactions. Overall, I predicted a main effect of vignette type, such that participants would perceive vignettes in which a microaggression is present differently than vignettes in which no microaggression has occurred. If differences were found, I predicted interactions between personality pathology and perceptions of microaggressions. Results revealed differences in participants’ perceptions of microaggressive versus control vignettes and significant associations were shown between AMPD constructs and ratings of microaggressions. Findings provide a basis for continuing research on the relationship between personality dysfunction and perceptions of other harmful behaviors.



Clinical Psychology; Social Psychology