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Friday, March 6 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
Barriers to Success: An Examination of the Relationship Between Stereotype Threat and the Impostor Phenomenon Based on Women’s Solo Status

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Based on previous research that identifies stereotype threat and the impostor phenomenon as being primarily experienced by women, I proposed that similar underlying processes (i.e., being a solo woman in a male-dominated work environment) may account for a positive relationship between stereotype threat and impostorism in professional women. I hypothesized that stereotype threat would act as a predictor for the impostor phenomenon within a sample of professional, solo women (Hypothesis 1) and that women who perceive themselves as being highly distinctive in their workplace would have higher impostorism scores than women who do not perceive themselves as being highly distinctive (Hypothesis 2). Data were collected via an online questionnaire from 76 women. The majority of participants identified their race/ethnicity as White (N=44), were 45 years of age or older (N=41), had some college education (N=56), and have experienced being a solo at work (N=52). Participants were randomly assigned to read a vignette about women who either coped well (control condition) or did not cope well (prime condition) with having a solo status in a male-dominated workplace. Participants then completed self-report items that measured levels of impostorism, job satisfaction, gender distinctiveness, and visibility (i.e., solo status). Results provided partial support for Hypothesis 1. Women with relatively low perceptions of their past solo status were likely to report higher levels of impostorism upon being primed with stereotype (compared to women in the control condition). However, women with relatively high perceptions of their past solo status were more likely to earn higher impostorism scores when they were in the control condition than in the prime condition. The results point to the potential need for experts to consider the influence degree of perceived solo status has on women’s interpretation of messages and situations that are potentially threatening to their social identity.

Friday March 6, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm