Title

Unmasking the Fraud: Imposter Syndrome among Black Doctoral Students

Conference Strand

Identity Formation

Abstract

Black doctoral students manage factors aside from meeting high academic achievements such as dealing with imposter syndrome (IS) and race-related stress particularly at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs). This session will provide the audience with information on how Black doctoral students can utilize Afrocentric coping strategies to combat impostor syndrome.

Description

Pursing a doctoral degree is, by design, challenging. Attaining a doctorate for many Black students at predominately White institutions, however, is wrought with obstacles. Underrepresented students, particularly Black students, have lower participation rates in doctoral studies as well as higher attrition rates compared to other minority groups and White doctoral students. The trend is more pronounced in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Low participation rates and high attrition rates of Black students in doctoral studies is attributed to obstacles such as imposter syndrome, racism, exclusion, isolation, and marginality.

Imposter syndrome can be experienced by doctorate students, however, for Black doctorate students it can have specific implications. Also, imposter syndrome has shown to have a negative impact on school adjustment, persistence, and completion. Black students tend to feel out of place, or as ‘imposters’. They develop racial trauma whose symptoms include anger, depression, shock, and self-doubt. As a result, Black students utilize Afrocentric coping strategies to aid them through their academic journey as they encounter racial and internal strife.

Furthermore, Afrocentric coping strategies are specialized ways Black doctoral students gain a strong sense of identity. Increasing self-identity has shown to have a direct positive relationship with coping with imposter syndrome and race-related stress among Black students. In this presentation, the attendees will: (a) be provided an overview of imposter syndrome and its prevalence among Black doctoral students; (b) learn of other factors that impede Black doctoral students from completing their programs including managing race-related stress and navigating the academic socialization process; (c) learn how Black doctoral students utilize Afrocentric coping strategies to combat imposter syndrome and raise self-identity.

Evidence

Greer, T. M. (2007). Measuring coping strategies among African Americans: An exploration of the latent structure of the COPE Inventory. Journal of Black Psychology, 33(3), 260-277. doi:10.1177/0095798407302539

Hutchins, H. M. (2015). Outing the imposter: A study exploring imposter phenomenon among higher education faculty. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 27(2), 3-12. doi:10.1002/nha3.20098

Parkman, A. (2016). The imposter phenomenon in higher education: Incidence and impact. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 16(1), 51-60.

Patterson-Stephens, S. M., & Vital, L. M. (2017). Black doctoral women: Exploring barriers and facilitators of success in graduate education. Academic Perspectives in Higher Education, 3(1), 5-7.

Roche, J. M. (2013). The empress has no clothes: Conquering self-doubt to embrace success. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Truong, K., & Museus, S. (2012). Responding to racism and racial trauma in doctoral study: An inventory for coping and mediating relationships. Harvard Educational Review, 82(2), 226-254. doi:10.17763/haer.82.2.u54154j787323302

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Carla Roberson, M.A., is a second year doctoral student in the Counselor Education program at Ohio University. She earned her Master’s in Mental Health and School Counseling from New Jersey City University and has served as a school counselor and assistant director at a non-profit organization in the Jersey City community. She is currently an AACTE Holmes Scholar and the president of Alpha Chapter - Chi Sigma Iota International Counseling Honor Society.

Location

ELAB 21

Start Date

2-8-2019 2:30 PM

End Date

2-8-2019 3:45 PM

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Feb 8th, 2:30 PM Feb 8th, 3:45 PM

Unmasking the Fraud: Imposter Syndrome among Black Doctoral Students

ELAB 21

Black doctoral students manage factors aside from meeting high academic achievements such as dealing with imposter syndrome (IS) and race-related stress particularly at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs). This session will provide the audience with information on how Black doctoral students can utilize Afrocentric coping strategies to combat impostor syndrome.