The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 49

Microaggressions, Sense of Belonging, and Sexual Identity in the Residential Environment

increase in the desire in recent scholarship
to better understand, measure, and curtail
microaggressions.
In recent years, there has been an increase
in efforts to measure microaggressions targeting LGBQ individuals. Wright and Wegner
(2012) developed the Homonegative Microaggressions Scale (HMS) "to examine the impact
of HMs (homonegative microaggressions)"
(p. 37). Woodford, Chonody, Kulick, Brennan,
and Renn (2015) examined LGBQ microaggressions on campuses looking specifically
at both interpersonal and environmental
microaggressions. The LGBQ Microaggressions on Campus Scale (Woodford, Chonody,
et al., 2015) was developed to address the fact
that existing scales were not designed for use
with college students or to include the experiences of bisexual and/or queer individuals.
While these scales assist in telling the story of
campus climate, they do not provide a connection to student outcomes.
Residence halls are influential spaces for
LGBQ students (Evans & Broido, 1999; Longerbeam, Inkelas, Johnson, & Lee, 2007). The
residential environment is important in college
student development and success (Astin, 1977;
Brandon, Hirt, & Cameron, 2008; Flowers,

Additionally, the current study
aimed to understand the role of
LGBQ students' sexual identity
development as a moderator of the
influence of microaggressions on
their sense of belonging.

2004; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Platt &
Lenzen, 2013; Woodford et al., 2012). While
the residential environment produced positive outcomes for many, the cost for minority
students with regards to "the overall benefits
of residence halls and the benefits of diversity
in higher education . . . may be overlooked"
(Harwood et al., 2012, p. 161). Students can
spend a significant portion of their time at
college in the residential environment; thus,
microaggressions in this space have the potential to be extremely detrimental (Schroeder &
Jackson, 1987).
Within a residential context, one student
outcome, sense of belonging, can be impacted
by microaggressions. Strayhorn (2012) defined
sense of belonging as a "student's perceived
social support on campus, a feeling or sensation of connectedness, the experience of
mattering or feeling cared about, accepted,
respected, valued by, and important to the
group...or others on campus..."(p.17). Sense of
belonging is meaningful because it can both
serve as an initiator for other positive outcomes
and also help mitigate negative experiences,
such as microaggressions (Strayhorn, 2012).
In this way, microaggressions can impact students' sense of belonging and thereby their
broader collegiate experience (Harwood et al.,
2012; Sue, 2010a, 2010b).
Based on these core concepts of microaggressions and sense of belonging, the research
questions that guided this study were: What
influence does the perception of being targeted by LGBQ microaggressions within the
residential context have on students' sense of
belonging? and To what degree do students'
sexual identity development moderate the influence of the perception of being targeted by
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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Intro
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