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Understanding and Overcoming the Psychological Barriers to Diversity: Imposter Syndrome and Stereotype Threat

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A Correction to this article was published on 11 May 2023

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Purpose of Review

To define and describe imposter syndrome and stereotype threat with a focus on otolaryngology trainees and faculty. To describe how imposter syndrome and stereotype threat are detrimental to career advancement within otolaryngology. To identify individual, departmental, and systemic health system strategies to mitigate the effects of imposter syndrome and stereotype threat.

Recent Findings

Imposter syndrome can affect anyone but disproportionately affects women, underrepresented minorities, and trainees or early career faculty. In a similar way, stereotype threat can derail advancement opportunities and disproportionately affects certain groups within otolaryngology. Helpful mitigation strategies have been described in the literature and are more effective when individual, departmental, and systemic approaches are combined.


Self-development and joy in work rely on a positive, inclusive work environment. Mitigating burnout and stress includes addressing imposter syndrome and stereotype threat within otolaryngology, especially among groups that are more susceptible to these hindrances.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •  Of importance •• Of major importance

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This study was funded by the Excellence in Research New Investigator Award through the Seattle Children’s Research Institute (JBV).

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Correspondence to Cristina Cabrera-Muffly.

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Conflict of Interest

Erynne A. Faucett reports payment from John Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology and support for attending/traveling to the following meetings: Academy Meetings in 2021 and 2022 and SENTAC 2021. The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Heslop, G., Bonilla-Velez, J., Faucett, E.A. et al. Understanding and Overcoming the Psychological Barriers to Diversity: Imposter Syndrome and Stereotype Threat. Curr Otorhinolaryngol Rep 11, 63–70 (2023).

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