Theses Doctoral

The Impostor Phenomenon and Depression in Higher Education: The Moderating Roles of Perceived Social Support and Sense of Belonging

Denese, Nazia

The study examined the impostor phenomenon among undergraduate and graduate students at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). Participants were recruited from various undergraduate and graduate programs at a PWI located in Northeastern U.S.

There were 414 participants, all of whom completed an online Qualtrics survey, which included measures on demographics, sense of belonging, impostor phenomenon, mindset, perceived social support, and depression. Results indicated a significantly positive relationship between impostor phenomenon and depression. Perceived social support and sense of belonging significantly moderated this relationship. Female and Other (Transgender, Non-Binary, and Non-Gender-Specified) participants experienced a significantly higher level of impostor feelings than Male participants.

Asian and Other (African American, Hispanic, Latinx, Middle Eastern, Biracial, and Multiracial) participants experienced significantly lower levels of perceived social support than White participants, but did not experience significantly different levels of impostor phenomenon or sense of belonging compared to White participants. Lastly, there was no significant relationship between fixed mindset and impostor phenomenon. In light of these results, there are several recommendations for universities, including increasing the amount of support groups.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Peverly, Stephen
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 13, 2022