Abstract: A Scoping Review of Measures Assessing Gender Microaggressions Against Women (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

A Scoping Review of Measures Assessing Gender Microaggressions Against Women

Friday, January 22, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Rachel Gartner, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Paul Sterzing, PhD, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Colleen Fisher, PhD, Associate Professor & MSW Program Director, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Michael Woodford, PhD, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener, ON, Canada
M. Killian Kinney, MSW, LSW, Doctoral Candidate, Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
Bryan Victor, PhD, Associate Professor, Indiana University, Indianapolis
Background and Purpose: While considerable knowledge exists about blatant gender discrimination and violence targeting women, less is known about gender microaggressions. To identify the frequency, prevalence, and effects of gender microaggression, researchers need robust quantitative measures. To advance gender microaggressions scholarship and support researchers’ efforts to identify high-quality measures, our scoping review aimed to (a) identify original, multi-item measures and/or subscales assessing the frequency of experiencing gender microaggressions, (b) synthesize the contexts and population demographics for which measures were designed, (c) report the psychometric testing completed, (d) examine microaggression named measures in terms of their consistency with microaggressions theory and frameworks, and (e) provide recommendations to strengthen future gender microaggressions scholarship.

Methods: We conducted a scoping review adhering to Arksey and O'Malley’s (2005) 5-stage methodology, which details a systematic process for search, extraction, and synthesis. The search included three categories of terms: (a) population (e.g., women, female, girls), (b) discrimination (e.g., sexism, harassment), and (c) subtle/covert (e.g., microaggression, everyday sexism, covert sexism). Included documents were those that (a) reported on the use of an original, multi-item measure with (b) at least one item assessing the frequency of women’s experience(s) of gender microaggressions that was (c) utilized with a sample that included (at least in part) women over the age of 18 residing in the United States. We charted measure and sample characteristics. Our initial search yielded 2,634 documents. After title and abstract review, full-text review, and data extraction, we identified 24 original, quantitative, multi-item measures designed to assess gender microaggressions or related constructs.

Results: Results indicate an increase in the number of measures including gender microaggression items in recent years, with a major expansion in the number of named gender microaggressions measures. Seven of the measures assessed only subtle incidents of microaggressions, while the others also included items assessing blatant gender discrimination. We found very limited reporting of demographic information with many measures validated with predominantly homogenous samples. Ten measures were created for specific contexts including university/school (n = 4), workplaces (n = 4), clinical settings (n = 1), and multiple settings (n = 1). Psychometric testing and characteristics varied across measures. Though most (n = 20) reported internal consistency reliability, only two-thirds (n = 16) reported undergoing validity testing.When examining microaggressions-named measures (n = 10), we found inconsistent adherence to microaggressions’ theoretical and conceptual foundations.

Conclusion and Implications: This review identified several research gaps, including the lack of explicit reporting of reliability and validity testing, measures tested with samples that were homogenous or for which diversity characteristics were unknown, and lack of context-specific measures (e.g., measures appropriate for workplace settings). These issues raise concerns about the quality and utility of available gender microaggression measures. Substantial work remains to develop a “gold standard” gender microaggressions measure that does not conflate subtle and blatant acts, assesses the full thematic range of gender microaggressions, and is psychometrically valid across different social contexts and diverse groups of women. Additional recommendations for the development of gender microaggressions measures will be discussed.