The imposter phenomenon among high-achieving women of color: Are worldview, collective self-esteem and multigroup ethnic identity protective?

Sarah Anne Lin, Fordham University

Abstract

The primary objective of this study was to explore the presence of the "Imposter Phenomenon," (IP) feeling like an intellectual fraud, among a sample of high-achieving women of color. A secondary objective was to investigate the possible protective function of individual difference variables that might help women of color to defend against IP. These variables included: self-esteem as it related to being a member of a particular racial or ethnic group (collective self-esteem); a worldview in which partnerships with others and invisible forms of achievement (e.g., spirituality) were valued as much as unaided, tangible achievements (worldview); and an identity in which race and ethnicity were integral to self-image and presumed to be well-regarded by others (multigroup ethnic identity). ^ The study sampled 208 highly educated women of color who were born in the United States and who were either currently earning, or had already earned, a graduate degree. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale (CIPS), the Collective Self-Esteem Scale (CSES), the Scale to Assess Worldview (SAWV), and the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Scale (MEIM). One subscale of the SAWV, the pessimistic subscale, did not have adequate internal reliability, and was not included in the main analyses of the study. ^ Positive and significant correlations were found between IP and age, and IP and CSE. Younger women were more likely to endorse IP compared to older women. Women with higher CSE were less likely to endorse IP. No other significant correlations were found. Results of a standard multiple regression indicated that the model significantly predicted IP, but that only 8.3% of the variance in IP could be explained by the combined effects of age, CSE, Worldview, and MEI. Implications for counseling psychologists are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Sarah Anne Lin, "The imposter phenomenon among high-achieving women of color: Are worldview, collective self-esteem and multigroup ethnic identity protective?" (January 1, 2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3303094.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3303094

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