Date of Award

Summer 7-25-2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Margit I. Berman, Ph.D., L.P.

Second Advisor

Marcia A. Bennett, Ph.D., L.P.

Third Advisor

Jim Theisen, Ph.D., L.P.


Individuals with multiple intersecting marginalized identities may be at greater risk for negative outcomes and exposure to discrimination during development. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of discrimination and having multiple marginalized identities on substance use among Minnesota youth. Using data gathered from the 2019 administration of the Minnesota Student Survey, a large statewide survey of 80,456 9th and 11th grade students, this study aimed to identify how holding multiple intersecting identities related to experiences of discrimination and substance use in Minnesota youth. Findings revealed that participants with more marginalized identity statuses experienced higher rates of discrimination and engaged in more frequent substance use than those with fewer marginalized identities. The relationship between holding multiple intersecting oppressed identity statuses and greater substance use was fully mediated by greater perceived discrimination among students with more marginalized identity statuses. In fact, once discrimination was included in the model, the relationship between multiple intersecting oppressed identities and substance use was statistically significant and negative. This suggests that exposure to discrimination may explain the increased risk of substance use among students with more marginalized identities, and that in the absence of discrimination, having multiple marginalized identities may have a protective effect against substance use. This study contributes to the growing research in intersectionality in adolescence and begins the conversation on managing the impact of discrimination and its associated stress.


SC 11.PsyD.2023.Thomas.A