Madeline Kushner

Supporting the Stigmatized: The Influence of Allyship on Well-being

Previous research has established that individuals with marginalized identities experience a host of negative outcomes, but the ability of social support and allyship to alleviate these adverse outcomes is currently not well understood. To better understand this complex relationship, my study will examine identity threats, or challenging social interactions where a conflict arises between one’s current context and a marginalized identity one has. These can range from relatively subtle instances such as friends discussing vacation plans when one can not afford to travel to more blatant situations such as someone’s career success being attributed to affirmative action. This study will examine the influence of receiving social support from allies on mitigating negative consequences associated with experiencing identity threat, specifically negative affect and diminished well-being. A sample of participants with stigmatized identities will complete a novel self-report inventory, which measures affective responses to 30 categories of identity challenges applicable to a wide range of marginalized identities (e.g., race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.). Participants will then report whether they experienced allyship behavior concerning each reported instance of identity threat and complete measures of 3 well-being indicators: loneliness, life-satisfaction, and physical health. This project will not only provide insight into the ability of social support and allyship to improve the well-being of those with stigmatized identities, but also allow for a better understanding of how friends, coworkers, family members, and allies can best provide support in daily life.