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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Harold Grotevant

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Multicultural Psychology


This research examined the microaggressions that Korean American internationally and transracially adopted persons (ITAPs) reported based on intraracial/intraethnic interpersonal exchanges. This research tested a conceptual model that: 1) determined the themes of intraracial/intraethnic microaggressions reported by Korean American ITAPs; 2) investigated how psychological symptoms and emotion outcomes were predicted from these microaggressions; and 3) tested specific moderators (i.e., age, engagement coping, disengagement coping, ethnic identity, stigma consciousness, parental racial, ethnic, and cultural socialization, and level of interaction with other Asians) that could change the relationship between these microaggressions and negative psychological symptoms and emotion outcomes. Two studies with different samples that share similar demographics were conducted using a mixed methods triangulation design. Study 1 used two tech-mediated focus groups to discern the typology of microaggressions. Participants in Study 1 included adult male (n =4) and female (n =4) Korean American ITAPs between the ages of 18-35 years old who were adopted by White parents before the age of 2. Participants resided in Western, Midwestern, and Eastern regions. Purposive sampling was used to obtain breadth and depth for a more comprehensive typology. Study 2 used the themes from Study 1 to develop the Intraracial/Intraethnic Microaggressions Checklist (IMC). Participants in Study 2 included 150 Korean American ITAPs (males n =35, females n =112, and nonbinary/agender n =3) representing all geographical regions. Participants were between the ages of 19-66 years old. Preliminary reliability and validity were demonstrated for the IMC and two subscales were identified and developed. The Internal subscale was based on the internal experience that ITAPs feel when receiving microaggressions, and the External subscale was related to assumptions externally imposed onto ITAPS regarding their adoptive experiences and identities. Results indicated that anxiety, stress symptoms, positive affect about adoption, and negative feelings related to adoption were predicted from internal microaggressions. General negative affect and positive affect about adoption were predicted from external microaggressions. Moderation analyses determined that under high conditions of disengagement coping, there was a positive relationship between internal microaggressions and stress symptoms, whereas under conditions of low and medium disengagement, this association was not significant.