This study aimed to understand the relationship between certain personality traits of college students and their willingness to respond against verbal racial microaggressions. Various concepts involving participant communication behavior, overall behavior and perception of social concerns were measured. Some of these concepts include Communication Apprehension, Willingness to Communicate, Altruism, Aggressive Traits and Social Desirability. Along with these personality factors that were assessed, a few demographic questions such as age and ethnicity were considered. Participants were asked to fill out an anonymous electronic survey. Results showed that those high in Willingness to Communicate and Aggressive Traits and low on Communication Apprehension, Social Desirability and Colorblindness were more likely to respond against verbal racial microaggressions. Hardly any demographic questions yielded a significant difference on whether or not there was a response. These results indicate that personality is a significant indicator on participant communication and overall behavior. It is important to understand and acknowledge that personality has a large effect on whether or not someone will stand up against a social cause. This study aims to contribute to the literature that mitigates the impact that behaviors such as microaggressions can have on people of color and communities.


Weller, Melissa


Communication Studies


microaggressions, communication apprehension, willingness to communicate

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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