The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 53

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

questions in the study sought to determine
if perceptions of being targeted by LGBQ microaggressions predicted sense of belonging
and if individuals' sexual identity development
moderated this relationship.
Today's collegiate experience centers
heavily on the establishment of a sense of belonging. As a basic human need, a sense of
belonging is crucial to the success of college
students. Strayhorn (2012) defined sense of belonging as "students' 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. 3). Researchers showed that students seeing themselves as being a part of the
campus community was key to, among other
things, academic success and engagement (Copeland & Levesque-Bristol, 2011; Han, Farruggia, & Moss, 2017; Maslow, 1954; Tinto, 2017,
Won, Wolters, & Mueller, 2018). Furthermore,
a sense of belonging was a strong predictor
of intent to persist (Hausmann, Schofield, &
Woods, 2007; Hoffman, Richmond, Morrow,
& Salomone, 2003; Strayhorn, 2012; Tinto,
2017).
The results from this study showed that the
perception of being targeted by LGBQ microaggressions in a residential context is a significant negative predictor of sense of belonging.
As students' perceptions of being targeted by
interpersonal or environmental LGBQ microaggressions increased, their sense of belonging decreased. What's important about this
finding is the understanding that microaggressions are rooted in perception. Sue (2010b)
explained that perception is the belief of the
person about a lived experience. Recognizing

the value of lived experiences "microaggressions are about experiential reality and about
listening to the voices of the most oppressed,
ignored, and silenced" (Sue, 2017, p. 171).
Several researchers reached conclusions demonstrating the negative influence microaggressions and other forms of discrimination have
on people (Hagerty, Williams, Coyne, & Early,
1996; Meyer, 1995, 2003; Seelman, Woodford, & Nicolazzo, 2017; Strayhorn, 2012; Sue,
2010a, 2010b; Woodford, Kulick, et al., 2015).
The results from this study provide the link
between microaggressions and a sense of belonging. Because students' sense of belonging
is inherently tied to concepts such as mattering, marginalization, and meaning, experience
with microaggressions can disrupt their collegiate experience and negatively impact persistence (Ingram, 2012; Strayhorn, 2012; Tinto,
2017).
Further, results showed students' sexual
identity development does not moderate the
relationship between perceived LGBQ microaggressions and sense of belonging (Blackmon, 2018). These results confirmed that
the significant negative relative relationship
between LGBQ microaggressions and sense
of belonging holds true regardless of where
students are in their sexual identity development. Prior research examining the lived experiences of marginalized groups established
the complex relationship between these experiences and sense of belonging (Seelman, et al.,
2017; Meyer, 2003; Vaccaro & Newman, 2016).
For example, Seelman et al. (2017) found no
significant interaction when gender identity
was used as a moderator between victimization, microaggressions, and psychological distress, but Meyer (2003) demonstrated through

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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
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Cover1
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