Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Stacey Williams

Committee Members

Ginette Blackhart, Julia Dodd, Jill Stinson


Social exclusion in higher education can occur at multiple levels (e.g., systemic, institutional, interpersonal, individual), and individuals simultaneously hold multiple social identities that could influence their perceptions of academic climate. The current study utilized a mixed-methods convergent parallel design to explore the impact of multiple social identities, perceptions of academic climate, and the imposter phenomenon among psychology students. In the quantitative portion, participants (N = 142) completed an online survey related to gender centrality, academic climate, and imposter phenomenon. Gender group comparisons revealed that cisgender men indicated poorer perceptions of climate than cisgender women and gender minorities, but imposter phenomenon was higher among cisgender women and gender minorities than cisgender men. However, perceived academic climate did not mediate the relationship between gender and the imposter phenomenon nor did gender centrality moderate the indirect path of gender on imposter phenomenon through perceived academic climate. In the qualitative portion, participants (N = 14) provided insight, through semi-structured interviews, on the connectedness of perceived academic climate and imposter phenomenon based on the culmination of their multiple social identities. Six themes were identified through reflexive thematic analyses (1) benefits of psychology; 2) barriers of psychology; 3) privileged perspective; 4) stereotypic view of psychology; 5) imposter phenomenon connections; 6) enhancing and maintaining success). Integrated findings suggest a power shift within the context of psychology as individuals that hold traditionally subordinate social identities reported positive perceptions of academic climate, while individuals that hold traditionally dominant social identities perceived academic climate more poorly. However, positive perceptions of academic climate failed to combat the internalization of negative societal stereotypes of those in traditionally subordinate groups, which was associated with experiences of the imposter phenomenon. Future directions and implications for translating findings are discussed.

Document Type

Dissertation - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

Available for download on Friday, September 15, 2023