This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Adapting Expressive Writing for Minoritized Students at Predominantly White Institutions Who Experience Microaggressions




Brydon, Cassidy

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Psychological Sciences

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Racial and ethnic based stressors, such as microaggressions, are pervasive, distressing, and result in long lasting negative repercussions for minoritized students at predominantly white institutions (PWI’s). These stressors related to racial and ethnic identity are experienced in addition to the universally experienced stressors of higher education. Expressive writing (Pennebaker & Beall, 1986) may be a widely disseminable and scalable intervention fit for addressing the negative repercussions resulting from microaggressions experienced by minoritized students at PWI’s. However, this intervention has not been designed to specifically address microaggressions in the minoritized college student population. As such, we utilized the ADAPT-ITT Model by Wingood and DiClemenete (2008) to develop a culturally sensitive adaptation of expressive writing. In the current study, we conducted a theater test of expressive writing in a sample of 18 minoritized college students enrolled at a PWI. Utilizing a mixed methods design, we found full retention following the first pre-intervention session, adequate variability for most quantitative measures, and that participants broadly perceived the adapted intervention to be helpful, appropriate, enjoyable, and necessary. Participants provided additional recommendations for future modifications of the adapted prompt and the intervention broadly. With the completion of the Administration phase of the ADAPT-ITT model, the results of the current study can be used to complete the next phases of the ADAPT-ITT model with the intent of creating a finalized adaptation of an evidence-based, widely scalable intervention aimed at addressing microaggressions experienced by minoritized students at PWIs.