Research Mentor(s): Lorraine Gutierrez
Authors: Paige Bost, Ashley Harvey, Lorraine Gutierrez, PhD
While Latinx students are enrolling at universities at a higher rate than in the past (Zell, 2010; National Center for Education Statistics, 2021), they face many structural barriers in their pursuit of higher education, including language barriers, unwelcoming institutional climates, and discrimination (Yosso et al., 2009; McGee, 2016). Even though Latinx students face significant barriers, there is limited research examining discrimination faced by Latinx college students (Flink, 2018). This study aims to help close this gap by investigating gender disparities in the number of discrimination experiences and the types of discrimination encountered among Latinx students at a predominantly white institution (PWI) in the Midwest. Utilizing a mixed method study, two-hundred forty-four Latinx (69% female) undergraduate (n = 102, Mage =20), and graduate (n = 115, Mage =28) students completed the Latinx Student Experiences Survey, which captured their experiences as Latinx students at a Midwestern PWI. To assess the total number of discriminatory experiences encountered while at the university, participants reported on a scale of (0) zero to (7) seven or more discriminatory experiences. To assess the types of discrimination encountered, participants were asked to check all of the following (discrimination, racism, oppression, segregation, exclusion, and microaggressions) that they experienced. Participants who selected at least one type of encounter were then asked to describe their experience in an open-ended question (“If you checked any of the above, please describe your experiences below”). Content coding analysis (Jackson and Trochim, 2002) was then conducted with two additional research assistants to establish inter-rater reliability. The results of an independent t-test performed using SPSS Statistics 29 show that the number of discrimination experiences among females was not significantly higher than for males (p = .095). However, chi-squared analyses indicated that there is a significant relation between sex and microaggressions (p=.039). The findings indicate that while there is no significant difference in the overall number of discrimination experiences reported between male and female Latinx students, there are notable variations when examining the specific types of experiences. Females reported a higher prevalence of microaggressions compared to males. This finding is consistent with previous research that acknowledges the interconnected nature of discrimination experiences. These results suggest that gender disparities may exist in certain aspects of discrimination experiences among Latinx students and emphasizes the need for institutions to address the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity when creating inclusive and supportive environments. However, the lack of a significant relationship between sex and the other types of discrimination challenges prior expectations and warrants further exploration.