As the nation becomes more multicultural, more research has inquired into the identity development of diverse individuals through their racial identity. The presence of racism and microaggressions presents an interesting obstacle in underrepresented groups’ identity development. Microaggressions, which are ambiguous slights toward a member of a minority group, have become more prevalent in society and have caused a shift in how victims of these aggressions cope and integrate these experiences into their racial identity. Much research has focused on how these daily insults affect health in terms of lower life expectancy, however there is a lack of research regarding how individuals cope with these experiences and incorporate them into their racial identity. The purpose of this study is to determine how individuals cope and grow in their racial identity through the examination of racism narratives. Because narrative storytelling is a powerful factor in individuals’ identity development, this study analyzed 46 African American and Hispanic American racism narratives on 4 narrative constructs: elaboration, coping, effects of racism, and growth. These narrative constructs were coded and correlated with the following questionnaires: Bicultural Integration Scale, the Cross Ethnic /Racial Identity scale, and the Identity Distress Scale. Results found that individuals who showed more depth, growth, and positive coping in their narratives had more positive perceptions of their racial identity and more mature identity development. These findings indicate the importance of narrating traumatic racial experiences for African American and Hispanic American students as they cope with and grow from their racist experiences.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Zaman, Widaad


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program




Access Status

Open Access

Release Date