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The impostor syndrome

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TitleInfo
Title
The impostor syndrome
SubTitle
an obstacle to women’s pursuit of power
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
McLean
NamePart (type = given)
Meghan Christina
NamePart (type = date)
1989-
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Meghan Christina McLean
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author
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Laurie A
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Laurie A Rudman
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Advisory Committee
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chair
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Cole
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Shana
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Shana Cole
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
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Sanchez
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Diana T
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Diana T Sanchez
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
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Haines
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Elizabeth L
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Elizabeth L Haines
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
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outside member
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Rutgers University
Role
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degree grantor
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School of Graduate Studies
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school
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Text
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theses
OriginInfo
DateCreated (qualifier = exact)
2017
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2017-10
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2017
Place
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xx
Language
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eng
Abstract (type = abstract)
Women are still paid less than men for identical work (England, 2006) and occupy significantly fewer leadership positions (e.g., Catalyst, 2013). Why do men continue to be over-represented at the top, occupying positions of power in the workplace? One reason may be that women need to solve the challenge of experiencing the impostor syndrome. The impostor syndrome refers to high-achieving people who have difficulty internalizing their accomplishments and who fear that they will be exposed as a fraud (Clance & Imes, 1978). Women report higher impostorism than men (Kumar & Jagacinski, 2006); therefore, the current study tested whether impostorism hinders women’s ability to advance in their careers. Specifically, the present research addressed whether impostorism increases women’s sensitivity to negative feedback because impostor feelings are associated with decreased self-efficacy, self-confidence, and an attributional style that emphasizes internal sources of failure (for a review, see Kumar & Jagacinski, 2006). Whether the gender difference in attrition for students in STEM and employees in other domains is due to higher levels of impostorism for women than men is unknown, despite evidence that women in medical school score higher than men on impostorism (Jöstl et al., 2015). The present thesis tested whether negative feedback resulted in less interest in pursuing a graduate degree and less persistence for people high on impostorism, and whether that was particularly true for women. In addition, I examined whether impostorism had incremental validity as a predictor variable after adjusting for (1) self-esteem, which was negatively related to impostorism (Chrisman et al., 1995), and (2) beliefs about intelligence (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007), because impostorism may be positively related to believing that intelligence is fixed rather than malleable. Results made the following novel contributions to the gender and impostorism literatures: (1) impostorism was especially detrimental to women’s pursuit of a graduate degree, but only when they faced negative feedback about their potential; (2) the stronger people’s impostorism, the more strongly they believed negative feedback about their potential; (3) impostorism was related to beliefs essential to career and academic advancement (e.g., fixed mindset beliefs). Finally, impostorism was not related to persistence rates on a graduate school aptitude task, but the task suffered from poor psychometric properties. Findings suggest that impostorism may hinder women’s career advancement by amplifying their responses to negative feedback. Additionally, the results illuminate other beliefs that people with strong impostor feelings may hold that are detrimental to career and academic pursuits. Future research should further address whether impostorism can affect persistence (i.e., attrition).
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Psychology
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Impostor phenomenon
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Pay equity
RelatedItem (type = host)
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Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = RULIB)
ETD
Identifier
ETD_8307
PhysicalDescription
Form (authority = gmd)
electronic resource
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
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text/xml
Extent
1 online resource (viii, 74 p. : ill.)
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
Note (type = statement of responsibility)
by Meghan Christina McLean
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TitleInfo
Title
School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore10001600001
Location
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NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3HD7ZSF
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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Rights

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The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
FamilyName
McLean
GivenName
Meghan
MiddleName
Christina
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RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2017-08-24 17:58:22
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Name
Meghan McLean
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Copyright holder
Affiliation
Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
AssociatedObject
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Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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Technical

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