The Relationship Between Racial Discrimination and Impostor Feelings: A Moderation Analysis

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Summer 2022


Race-based discrimination and oppression at both a micro and macro-level has been shown to increase psychological distress and rates of depression. Further, experiences of racial discrimination have been uniquely tied to instances of impostorism for racial/ethnic minority (REM) students. Neglecting to identify and address the impacts of discrimination in academia can serve to perpetuate the marginalization of REM students, and overtime this pattern of marginalization can result in the internalization of oppression and beliefs of inferiority akin to that of impostorism. This indicates that internalized oppression may have a unique role to play in the relationship between racial discrimination and impostorism. Thus, this quantitative study utilized a hierarchical linear regression analysis to examine the moderating impact of internalized oppression on the relationship between six types of racial discrimination and instances of impostorism in REM students. Survey data from a sample of 339 individuals were included in the final analysis. Six hierarchical regressions and moderation analyses were conducted to test the interaction effects for internalized oppression and each racial discrimination type. Results evidenced significant interaction effects for five of the six moderation analyses, indicating that internalized oppression had a significant moderating impact on the relationship between racial discrimination and impostorism for these analyses. Additional statistical strategies were conducted to further explore each significant interaction effect. The results of these analyses indicated that internalized oppression may serve as a stronger predictor of impostorism than experiences of racial discrimination. The implications of the study, limitations, and recommendations for future research are provided.


Erika L. Schmit

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences