The Effect of Mentoring on Feelings of Impostor Phenomenon in Black Women Pursuing a Terminal Degree


Tobi Fuller

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Summer 2020


In 1978, Clance and Imes observed a phenomenon in primarily white, middle – to upperclass highly educated and successful women in which they described feeling as though they were an intellectual fraud despite their accomplishments and labeled it the Impostor Phenomenon. In the years since, studies have found the phenomenon present in groups regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or age and attempted to discover factors that alter the intensity of the feelings experienced. The purpose of this study is to determine if Black women in advanced degree programs with a Black woman mentor have lesser feelings of impostor phenomenon than those with a mentor of another race or no mentor at all and if having the mentor assigned by the institution or found on her own also affects these feelings. The results showed that feelings of impostorism might not be as simple as having the same race and gender mentor or even having a mentor at all.


Raymond Green

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences