Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




College of Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Deborah Conner

Second Advisor

Catherina Middleton

Third Advisor

Sherri Restauri


Microaggressions are daily insults to individuals that communicate messages of exclusion, inferiority, and abnormality. The term microaggression was originally used to explain the experiences of racial minorities. This term has also been used to explain the experiences of other individuals with oppressed identities. More recently, the term ableist microaggression has been used to describe these types of experiences for individuals with disabilities. Like other oppressed groups, individuals with disabilities experience ableism through interpersonal discrimination which is often delivered in a subtle, ambiguous, and unintentional manner that is difficult to address. Qualitative studies in the field of education and disability studies echoed voices of individuals with disabilities who express anger, resentment, and frustration over such interactions. Keller and Galgay showcased the likelihood of psychological impacts as a result of ableist microaggressions. Building on studies of the psychological impact of racial microaggressions, this explanatory mixed methods two-phase study seeks to explore the implications of ableist microaggressions in the lives of college students with disabilities and the impacts of such experiences on psychological thriving. Additionally, this study seeks to investigate the factors, including those of personality that may contribute to thriving.