Spring 2023



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Dr. Michael Reynolds

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Pa Der Vang

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Caroline Hilk


Xiong-Chan, M. (2023). When You Look into the Mirror and See Nothing: Psychic Disequilibrium and its relationship with Impostor Phenomenon in Hmong Women Leaders in the United States.

Hmong have made considerable educational and socio-economic strides in the United States, post immigration after the Vietnam War. This has been achieved through significant challenges such as language, culture, discrimination, poverty and racism. This phenomenological study focuses specifically on Hmong women leaders in the United States and, through qualitative research, examines how psychic disequilibrium and impostor phenomenon have impacted their journeys. Using thematic analysis this study focused on the following research questions: How does psychic disequilibrium contribute to impostor phenomenon in Hmong American women’s professional ambitions? Secondary questions for this research include: What is the relationship between culture and identity within psychic disequilibrium among Hmong women and their leadership experiences in the United States? Data collection methods included an online in-take form to find participants and semi-structured interviews. There were six participants in the interview process who were geographically located in the Midwest and the Western United States. Findings suggest that cultural identity and gender play a significant role in how Hmong women experience feelings of belonging, failure and success and that Hmong women are better served as leaders by considering psychic disequilibrium to address these feelings than impostor phenomenon alone. Areas for future research include a study on the Hmong partners and husbands of these women, examining how culture and gender impact their lives as partners of professional Hmong women and expanding the study to include a larger sample of all female identifying Hmong women. (236 words)


Leadership, Multicultural Education, Social Justice








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