A three-person team of researchers identified 31 types of microaggressions that a person can experience if they're an atheist.
What are the details?
Three researchers, Zhen Cheng, Louis Pagano, and Azim Shariff, created the Microaggressions Against Non-Religious Individuals Scale tool, or MANRIS, in order to assist therapists in understanding the intricate components involved in the marginalization of atheist people by those people who are otherwise spiritual or religious.
Cheng, who recently received a doctorate degree from the University of Oregon, led the study.
Pagano, Shariff, and Cheng concluded that atheists can suffer mental "harm" as a result of other people assuming that those atheists are actually religious, among other things.
The researchers' work was published for the first time last week in a journal by the American Psychological Association, according to Campus Reform.
Some of those "microaggressions" against atheists can be pulled out into the light if mental health professionals ask the right kinds of questions.
Yes-or-no statements on the scale include "Others have included a blessing or prayer in a public social gathering," "Others have acted surprised that I do not believe in God," "Others have teased me because of my non-religious identity," and "Others have assumed that I am religious."
In their findings, Cheng, Pagano, and Shariff conclude that the scale is an important tool for mental health professionals and atheists alike in order to be more open about prejudice atheists might experience as a result of their lack of faith in absolutely anything at all.
"Having this microaggression scale can empower nonreligious individuals to talk about their experience with prejudice," Cheng, Pagano, and Shariff write, noting that the scale can assist mental health professionals "better understand the types of prejudices that their nonreligious clients experience" as well as "subtle experiences of bias."
Cheng spoke with Campus Reform, who said that "because our study is not experimental, we cannot directly claim that microaggressions directly caused harm."
The outlet reported, however, that Cheng asserted "while the research on microaggressions is still emerging, early evidence suggests that microaggressions can negatively impact mental health."
“Because of this potential for harm, that is why people are taking this seriously," Cheng explained. "The theory behind how microaggressions cause harm is ‘death by a thousand cuts.'"
“It’s not about any one comment, remark, or behavior,” Cheng added. “It’s about a feeling of judgment and/or exclusion that accrues from a pattern of microaggressions…there are constant cues that in aggregate make people feel excluded or othered."
(H/T: Campus Reform)