As (S)He Thinks, so (S)He Is: Mindset as Moderator of Stereotype Threat and Impostor Phenomenon in Black Women Doctoral Students


Tobi Fuller

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Spring 2021


Black women have a unique experience that no other race or gender has or fully understands because they encounter the resultant racism of being Black and the sexism of being a woman. If a Black woman doctoral student believes the stereotypes held for either her race or gender, she can be subject to stereotype threat in testing situations. She may also fall victim to impostor phenomenon, defined as the internal feeling that you are an intellectual fraud, as she navigates the challenging waters of academia where very few look like her. However, if she has a mindset that although she may not currently have all of the knowledge to succeed at the doctoral level, she can gain the necessary knowledge and thus be successful no matter the challenges she faces. Stereotype threat and impostor phenomenon would no longer be stumbling blocks for her.The purpose of this study was to relate stereotype threat to impostor phenomenon in Black women doctoral students and determine if having a growth mindset moderated the relationship. Participants were randomized into two conditions – stereotype threat or control. Both groups completed a mindset scale, verbal reasoning test, Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale, and a demographic questionnaire. The stereotype threat group was told that the verbal reasoning test was a measure of their ability; whereas, the control group was told they were testing the validity of the questions. Two-way analysis of variance determined that having a growth mindset does not moderate the relationship between impostor phenomenon nor verbal reasoning test scores. However, those with a fixed mindset did have higher impostor phenomenon scores than those with a growth mindset, no matter the condition.


Raymond Green

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology