Ling LeFollow


Extant literature on Imposter syndrome primarily focuses on Asian Americans. This current review of literature seeks to make a comparison of Imposter syndrome between two marginalized communities – Asian Americans and African Americans. Imposter syndrome, also referred to as the imposter phenomenon, refers to an individual who doubts their own skills, abilities, successes, and overall capabilities in their life (Parkman, 2016). Asian American students are stereotyped as the model minority and are believed to be intelligent, hardworking, high achieving, and academic and seen to be free from any emotional or adaptive problems. Although these stereotypes are perceived to be positive, they also place a great deal of pressure on Asian American students to excel in school and this can produce increased anxiety and distress. Among African-Americans, shame-proneness manifests differently. It is directly related to a fear of intimacy and self-deprecation (Austin, 2009). Researchers looking at the relationship between Imposter syndrome and mental health among student populations have found it to be a predictor of mental health, it has been found to be positively correlated with anxiety, depression, psychological distress, and minority student status stress (Parkman, 2016). This review will seek to answer which of the two aforesaid stated student populations of first-generation students, Asian American and African American experience a greater detriment in mental health and if there are any specific patterns of mental symptoms of psychological distress that are found among each of these student populations.


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