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Identity, Campus Climate, and Burnout Among Undergraduate Women in STEM Fields.

Women remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and these male-dominated fields are often described as "chilly" and unwelcoming to women. This study examined the potential moderating effect of chilly climate on woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout among 363 female undergraduate STEM students. Results indicated that identity interference related to greater emotional exhaustion, greater cynicism, and lower academic efficacy. A chillier climate related to more emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Furthermore, a positive relation was found between woman-scientist interference and cynicism when chilly climate was low or moderate. When interference was high, chilly climate did not have a relation with cynicism. When women experienced many threats (i.e., high chilly climate, high interference), they reached a threshold where additional emotional cost did not matter. Results highlight the importance of improving the campus climate for female scientists, as well as the need to assist female scientists in identity development.

Keywords: chilly climate, STEM, academic burnout, gender identity, science identity

Although science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines offer career opportunities and financial stability, women make up only 25% of the STEM workforce in the United States (Noonan, 2017). Furthermore, women hold only 14% of engineering jobs (Noonan, 2017) and have a higher attrition rate than their male peers (Chen, 2013). The male-dominated STEM fields are described as "chilly" and unwelcoming to women (Hall & Sandler, 1982; Janz & Pyke, 2000) and are linked to lower well-being and depression (Cortina, Swan, Fitzgerald, & Waldo, 1998; Settles, O'Connor, & Yap, 2016). Such male-dominated fields may send the message to women that their identities as women and scientists are incompatible, creating what has been termed woman-scientist identity interference (Settles, Jellison, & Pratt-Hyatt, 2009). Few studies have examined other outcomes specific to education, such as academic burnout, that can have an impact on women's retention in STEM fields (Williams, Dziurawiec, & Heritage, 2018). We sought to fill this gap by assessing the role of campus climate and woman-scientist identity interference in academic burnout.

Theoretical Framework

Expectancy-value theory provides a framework to explain how competency beliefs, goal attainability, and values have an impact on persistence in STEM (Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000). Broadly, expectancy-value theory is used to explain how one's perceived competence, values, and the cost attributed to the career task have an impact on career choices (Wang & Degol, 2013). Wang and Degol (2013) added to the theory by proposing a pathway to explain women's persistence in STEM. They addressed how sociocultural factors (e.g., gender, race, and stereotypes) affect psychological factors (e.g., science identity) that impact engagement and STEM performance (Eddy & Brownell, 2016; Wang & Degol, 2013). This is supported by Eccles's (1994) argument that women's career choices and perceived competency are affected by gender socialization and norms that can be learned from the environment. The role of the environment for women in STEM (e.g., feedback from peers and professors) is also thought to affect feelings of self-efficacy and identity (Eddy & Brownell, 2016). This suggests the environment may play a moderating role between identity and persistence in STEM.

Factors within the environment that influence career-relevant attitudes have been examined by Settles et al. (2016), who found woman-scientist identity interference and chilly climate relate to lower well-being. Similarly, identity interference has been linked to lower science performance and self-esteem (Settles, 2004). However, the connection between campus climate and identity interference remains unclear in the extant published research literature. Therefore, we explored how woman-scientist interference might affect women differently on the basis of the degree to which they perceive the climate to be unwelcoming. This interference and pressure from the environment may contribute to the emotional cost described in expectancy-value theory (Flake, Barron, Hulleman, McCoach, & Welsh, 2015). Emotional cost stems from pressure from the environment to excel and can result in a negative emotional state (Flake et al., 2015). On the basis of this definition of emotional cost, we examined the impact of chilly climate and woman-scientist interference on the emotional cost of academic burnout.

Academic Burnout

The environment and learned social norms have an impact on women and the perceived cost of academic or achievement-related choices and tasks (Eccles, 1994). Cost is what a person must give up to complete a task, and emotional cost occurs after excess effort is used to complete a goal (Flake et al., 2015). One type of emotional cost that women may experience in STEM is academic burnout. Academic burnout occurs when the effort students put into their studies is not reflected in the rewards they receive (Williams et al., 2018). Specifically, three components of academic burnout have been identified: cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and reduced academic efficacy (Schaufeli, Martinez, Pinto, Salanova, & Bakker, 2002). The imbalance of effort and reward can lead to increased cynicism in students, or a negative attitude toward schoolwork. It can lead to increased emotional exhaustion, such as feeling drained from academics. Finally, it can lead to decreased efficacy as a student, or feeling less competent in one's ability to complete schoolwork.

In addition to the different types of academic burnout identified, the imbalance of effort and reward can lead to increased stress (Williams et al., 2018) and increased attrition for STEM students (Gasiewski, Eagan, Garcia, Hurtardo, & Chang, 2012). This emotional cost of academic burnout is viewed as the opposite of academic engagement (Schaufeli et al., 2002), which is related to STEM persistence. However, it is unclear whether academic burnout is related to STEM attrition because of the emotional cost it creates for students.

Woman-Scientist Identity Interference

Identity is essential to understanding motivation and well-being; for example, group affirmation is related to greater well-being only if individuals find the group membership to be an important part of their self-concept (Derks, van Laar, & Ellemers, 2009). Disciplinary identity refers to how similar students perceive their identity to be with individuals in the field of interest (Eddy & Brownell, 2016). Having a strong disciplinary identity in science for women relates to weaker gender stereotype endorsement (Deemer, Lin, & Soto, 2016) and a greater intent to pursue science careers (Cundiff, Vescio, Loken, & Lo, 2013). Gender stereotypes can contribute to the belief that the identities of woman and scientist are incongruent, that is, woman-scientist identity interference (Settles et al., 2016). This interference relates to lower well-being and poorer science performance for women in STEM (Settles, 2004). To cope with this incongruence, female scientists may feel pressure to minimize the identity that is more flexible, such as "scientist" (Settles et al., 2016). In contrast, perceived identity compatibility between a student's gender and STEM discipline relates to positive outcomes, such as a greater sense of belonging (Rosenthal, London, Levy, & Lobel, 2011). Although there are clear implications for having a compatible sense of identities, it is unclear what environmental factors may strengthen or diminish the feeling of woman-scientist identity compatibility or interference.

Chilly Climate

Chilly climate describes how traditionally masculine fields are unwelcoming or hostile to women--for example, because of differential treatment in the classroom by professors and other students toward women (Hall & Sandler, 1982). Students perceive the campus environment differently depending on the students' identities (Hurtado, Griffin, Arellano, & Cuellar, 2008). For example, students of color often experience the campus climate as more hostile and feel a lower sense of belonging than do White students (Hurtado et al., 2008). Subtle behaviors from peers and staff that activate negative stereotypes (e.g., women are bad at math) lead to decreased interest in the field of the stereotyped groups (Cheryan, Plaut, Davies, & Steele, 2009). Stereotypes about the ability of female scientists (e.g., that female scientists are less competent or do not belong) can lead to disengagement, de-identification (Steele, Spencer, & Aronson, 2002), and decreased persistence in the field (Thoman, Smith, Brown, Chase, & Lee, 2013).

This unwelcoming and hostile environment can also affect feelings of alienation in women (Janz & Pyke, 2000). Although men can also experience a hostile campus climate, women perceive the campus climate to be less welcoming than do men, even in female-dominated disciplines (Morris & Daniel, 2008). The impact of an unwelcoming and hostile campus environment on women in the sciences and across disciplines is clear, even though campus climates can differ depending on the particular campus environment. Specifically, it is unclear what impact the chilly climate has on university campuses that have a STEM focus. In addition, there is little known about chilly climate's impact on female scientists (Settles et al., 2016).

The Present Study

The goal of our study was to investigate whether chilly climate moderates the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout. The underrepresentation of women in STEM is often explained through intrapersonal factors (e.g., Su, Rounds, & Armstrong, 2009) that place the burden on women to improve their situation. We argue that there are also environmental factors that affect women's persistence, such as the masculine environment of STEM. We sought to further work done by Settles et al. (2016) using Eddy and Brownell's (2016) model to examine how chilly climate moderates the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout among undergraduate women in STEM. We asked the following question: How does chilly climate moderate the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout? On the basis of the previous literature, we hypothesized the following:

Hypothesis 1: Greater chilly climate will relate to higher levels of each component of academic burnout: emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased academic efficacy.

Hypothesis 2: Higher woman-scientist identity interference will relate to higher levels of academic burnout.

Hypothesis 3: Chilly climate will moderate the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout. Specifically, a chillier climate will strengthen the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout.



Participants included 363 female undergraduate students from a large land-grant university in the Midwest with a focus on STEM (mean age = 19.86 years, SD = 2.98; age range = 18-62). All participants majored in a STEM field, which included engineering/technologies (n = 265, 73%), computer and information sciences (n = 41, 11.3%), physical science (n = 25, 6.9%), mathematics (n = 25, 6.9%), and dual degree (n = 7, 1.9%). These fields were included in analyses as women are significantly underrepresented in these fields (Chen, 2013). We focused on gender identity (American Psychological Association, 2015) and included anyone identifying as female or trans female as "female." Participants identified as White (74.4%), Asian/Indian/Asian American (12.7%), multiracial (5.5%), Hispanic/Latina (4.1%), African American/Black/ African (1.9%), other (0.6%), Arabic/Arab American (0.3%), and Native American (0.3%). The sample was recruited across all undergraduate years of schooling, ranging from first-year students (34.3%), to sophomores (25.3%), juniors (20.9%), seniors (18.5%), and other (0.8%). (Percentages may not total 100 because of rounding.)


Academic burnout. The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Student Survey (MBI-SS) was adapted from the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) to measure burnout among students (Schaufeli et al., 2002). The MBI-SS is a 15-item scale that loads onto three separate factors: Cynicism, Emotional Exhaustion, and Academic Efficacy (Schaufeli et al., 2002). Items are rated on a 7-point Likert-type scale ranging from 0 (never) to 6 (always). The Cynicism subscale consists offour items (e.g., "I doubt the significance of my academics"), the Emotional Exhaustion subscale consists of five items (e.g., "I feel emotionally drained by my academics"), and the Academic Efficacy subscale consists of six items (e.g., "In my opinion, I am a good student"). The Academic Efficacy subscale measures feelings of competence as a student. Scores from the subscales demonstrated good estimated internal consistencies: [alpha] = .91 for Cynicism, [alpha] = .90 for Emotional Exhaustion, and [alpha] = .83 for Academic Efficacy (Campos, Zucoloto, Bonafe, Jordani, & Maroco, 2011). The subscales' estimated internal consistency for the present study was as follows: [alpha] = .89 for Cynicism, [alpha] = .90 for Emotional Exhaustion, and [alpha] = .81 for Academic Efficacy. Scores from the MBI-SS demonstrated concurrent validity when negatively correlated with engagement and academic performance (Schaufeli et al., 2002).

Chilly climate. The 28-item Perceived Chilly Climate Scale (PCCS) assesses the degree to which a college campus is perceived as inhospitable (Janz & Pyke, 2000) and includes five subscales: (a) Climate Students Hear About, (b) Sexist Treatment, (c) Climate Students Experience Personally, (d) Classroom Climate, and (e) Safety. Items are rated on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). A sample item is "A woman student must outperform male students in order to be taken seriously by the teaching staff." On the basis of the STEM persistence model (Eddy & Brownell, 2016), we used the total scale score because all subscales load on a higher order factor of chilly climate. In addition, the PCCS full scale was used to assess chilly climate in previous research (Janz & Pyke, 2000). The scale's scores demonstrated an estimated internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) of .92 (Janz & Pyke, 2000); for this study, Cronbach's alpha was .87. The PCCS demonstrated convergent validity with its relation to feminism and alienation (Janz & Pyke, 2000).

Woman-scientist identity interference. We used the 17-item Woman-Scientist Identity Interference Scale (Settles, 2004) to assess the degree to which women perceive their identities as being female and a scientist as incompatible. Items are rated on a 7-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (not at all true of me) to 7 (extremely true of me). A sample item is "I can easily be a female scientist." The scale demonstrated an estimated internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) of .86 in a prior study (Settles, 2004) and .80 in the present study.

Procedure and Analysis

A Qualtrics survey was distributed to all undergraduate students enrolled in STEM disciplines at the university via an email sent by the registrar with a link to an online survey. Participants gave consent prior to their survey completion and received no monetary incentive. A reminder email to complete the survey was sent 1 week later. Data were then screened to include only those who identified as female or trans female. Data deleted (n = 123) included women who provided only demographic data, did not provide a specific major, identified as a life science major, or were under 18 years of age.

We used a moderated regression design with chilly climate as the moderator because prior literature suggests the environment affects students' engagement depending on their identity (Eddy & Brownell, 2016). Specifically, we used hierarchical linear regression to assess the potential moderating effect of chilly climate on the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout. We centered the variables, and woman-scientist identity interference and chilly climate were entered on Step 1 of the analysis. The interaction of chilly climate and identity interference was entered on Step 2, with academic burnout as the outcome variable. Step 2 included each subscale on the MBI-SS to assess variation in the different elements of academic burnout (i.e., emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and academic efficacy).


To begin the analyses, we evaluated assumptions for hierarchical linear regression. All variables met criteria for normality with skewness values ranging from -.15 to .57 and kurtosis values ranging from -.73 to -.19 (Weston & Gore, 2006). All visually inspected histograms and boxplots demonstrated a normal distribution. To eliminate outliers, we identified and removed data that fell above the third and below the first quartiles, multiplied by 2.2 (Hoaglin & Iglewicz, 1987). On the basis of this criterion, we removed four outliers. All variables demonstrated linear relations with each other, and we found no nonlinear relations on the scatterplots. Inspection of diagnostic statistics indicated no evidence of multicollinearity (variance inflation factor = 1.34; tolerance = 0.72). Table 1 shows the intercorrelations between predictor, moderator, and outcome variables.

To assess for missing data, we created a dummy-coded variable (0 = not missing, 1 = missing) and correlated the variable with each predictor, outcome, and demographic variable. We found the missing data variable correlated with woman-scientist interference (r = -.16, p = .01), indicating those who reported less woman-scientist interference were more likely to have missing data, possibly because they felt the scale was not applicable to them. Because the effect size was small and missing data were not related to any outcome variable, we considered the data to be missing at random and proceeded with the analyses.

To test our hypotheses, we conducted three hierarchical regression analyses for each outcome variable of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and academic efficacy. Prior to analysis, the interaction term was centered via z scores to reduce multicollinearity. In Step 1 of each analysis we entered perceived chilly climate and woman-scientist interference, and in Step 2 we entered the interaction term of perceived chilly climate and woman-scientist interference. Results are presented in Table 2.

In the first analysis, the Step 1 model was significant, F(2, 295) = 24.50, p < .001, as chilly climate ([beta] = .15, p = .02) and woman-scientist interference ([beta] = .27, p < .001) explained 14.2% of the variance in emotional exhaustion. However, adding the Chilly Climate x WomanScientist Interference product term on Step 2 did not result in a significant increment in variance accounted for, [DELTA]F(1, 294) = 0.44, p = .51.

The Step 1 model for the prediction of cynicism was significant, F(2, 295) = 20.40, p < .001, [R.sup.2] = .12, as chilly climate ([beta] = .13, p - .043) and woman-scientist interference ([beta] = .26, p < .001) were significant positive predictors of this outcome variable. The product term entered on Step 2 explained an additional 1.4% of the variance in cynicism, [DELTA]F(1, 294) = 4.72, p = .031. Post hoc probing of the simple slopes indicated that the relationship between woman-scientist interference and cynicism was positive and significant at low, t(293) = 4.33, p < .001 (b = 2.54); medium, t(293) = 4.43, p < .001 (b = 1.76); and high, t(293) = 2.05, p = .041 (b = .98), levels of chilly climate.

Finally, the Step 1 model for the prediction of student efficacy was significant, F(2, 295) = 18.84, p < .001. Woman-scientist interference was a significant negative predictor of student efficacy ([beta] = -.37, p < .001), but chilly climate was unrelated to the outcome ([beta] = .08, p = .224). The two predictors combined to explain 11.3% of the variance in academic efficacy. The Chilly Climate x Woman-Scientist Interference product term entered on Step 2 was marginally nonsignificant, A.F(1, 294) = 3.25, p = .073, accounting for an increment of 1.0% of the variance in student efficacy.


The goal of the current study was to explore whether chilly climate moderates the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout. As expected, we found a chillier climate related to higher levels of emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Similarly, woman-scientist identity interference related to higher levels of academic burnout. In addition, chilly climate moderated the relation between woman-scientist identity interference and cynicism (see Figure 1). Overall, we found support for our second hypothesis and partial support for our first and third hypotheses.

We found partial support for our first hypothesis in that a chillier climate was associated with increased emotional exhaustion and cynicism, although not decreased academic efficacy. As women experienced a chillier climate, they felt more emotionally exhausted and detached from their studies, corroborating previous research that has linked an unwelcoming academic climate to lower psychological well-being (Settles et al., 2016) and also supporting research on stereotype threat, wherein subtle differential treatment of women by peers and professors can lead to disengagement (Steele et al., 2002). However, chilly climate did not relate to lower academic efficacy. It is possible that entering a hostile environment can also serve as a way to empower women's belief in their ability to complete their goals. Research on microaggressions has found that a strong ethnic identity can be a protective mediating factor against discrimination, relating to greater self-efficacy (Forrest-Bank & Cuellar, 2018). It is possible that other variables have an impact on the positive relation between chilly climate and academic efficacy.

Similarly, we found support for our second hypothesis in that greater woman-scientist identity interference was associated with greater emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and lower academic efficacy. As women experienced incongruence between their identities as women and as scientists, they felt more emotionally drained, more skeptical of the importance of their work, and less competent as students. These findings support the idea that having a stronger sense of identity can serve as a protective factor against discrimination (Forrest-Bank & Cuellar, 2018). Similarly, our results are supported by previous literature suggesting that woman-scientist identity interference relates to negative outcomes (Settles, 2004). This may be due to the impact of social norms on students' identity and engagement. As women in STEM experience stereotypes about their gender (e.g., women are stereotyped as less competent in science than men), they may experience a less cohesive identity. Gender socialization and implicit stereotypes affect others' behavior in STEM classrooms, thus decreasing perceived competence and increasing exhaustion and cynicism (Vescio, Gervais, Snyder, & Hoover, 2005).

Our third hypothesis was partially supported in that the relation between woman-scientist interference and cynicism, but not emotional exhaustion or academic efficacy, was moderated by chilly climate. Cynicism was lowest when both identity interference and chilly climate were low, whereas cynicism was substantially higher at low levels of identity interference and high levels of chilly climate. In contrast, when identity interference was high, there was essentially no difference in cynicism between the low, medium, and high levels of chilly climate. This reflects an antagonistic pattern of interaction (Cohen, Cohen, West, & Aiken, 2003) whereby the effect of a moderator increasingly nullifies the effect of a predictor (or vice versa) on an outcome as scores on the predictor increase. In the context of the current study, this suggests that women appear to feel more cynical about their academic involvement when either identity interference or chilly climate is high, but not when both are simultaneously high. We expected to see a synergistic pattern of interaction whereby increasingly high perceptions of chilly climate would strengthen the positive relationship between identity interference and cynicism, but this was not the case.

In line with expectancy-value theory, environmental threats and gender norms created emotional cost in the form of cynicism (Eccles, 1994). As cynicism measures the perceived usefulness of the major, it seems women who experienced the most emotional cost (i.e., high chilly climate, high interference) reached a threshold where they were highly skeptical of the usefulness of their studies. This is significant because the discrepancy between the effort women put into their studies and the perceived value of the task can lead to decreased motivation (Flake et al., 2015). At those high levels of interference, the environment did not have an impact because women had reached an emotional threshold. In addition, this result may add to the Eddy and Brownell (2016) updated model, wherein contextual factors (e.g., how professors and students treat women and sexual harassment) change the relation between women's identity as scientists and their cynical attitude toward their studies.

Overall, the results are supported by Eddy and Brownell's (2016) STEM persistence model that explains the impact of identity and the campus environment on performance and engagement. Our results provide evidence that gender socialization and woman-scientist identity relate to academic burnout as well. Specifically, the moderating results for cynicism are congruent with past research that shows cynicism to be negatively correlated with engagement (Schaufeli et al., 2002). We provide support for the role of an unwelcoming or hostile academic climate on emotional exhaustion and cynicism, which is significant because a lack of dedication to academic work has an impact on women's persistence in STEM.

Practical Implications

STEM educators and career counselors can use this research to highlight for their students and clients the impact of the campus climate on women. Subtle, stereotype-related behaviors on the part of peers and professors can lead to decreased interest in the field by women, and how women are treated in STEM environments affects science identity and self-efficacy (Cheryan et al., 2009; Eddy & Brownell, 2016). By raising awareness of how women experience the academic environment, and of the impact of this experience on women's identity as competent scientists, educators can work to create a more welcoming environment. The movement toward a less hostile environment, in which women feel comfortable and safe in engaging in discussion, is essential to empowering women to gain confidence in themselves to succeed in STEM. Such an environment can be fostered by, for example, incorporating a range of perspectives in course work (e.g., research by female scientists) and being vocal when students and professors notice instances of sexual harassment. These ideas are reflected in items on the PCCS (Janz & Pyke, 2000). A change in the environment is essential to improving retention of female scientists.

In addition, counselors can use this knowledge to help women in STEM become aware of these environmental barriers. Awareness of barriers that are often subtle and unseen, such as biases from peers or the need to fit into a masculine environment, can empower women to challenge and work against them (De Weide & Laursen, 2011). The counselor can provide emotional support as the client gains awareness of the environmental factors affecting academic burnout. Helping empower women to challenge broader norms and stereotypes can reduce the negative impact of stereotypes on academic performance (Alter, Aronson, Darley, Rodriguez, & Ruble, 2010). Providing psychoeducation on the role of an unwelcoming campus climate, stereotypes, and subtle discrimination from others can help women gain a better understanding of the barriers that have an impact on their academic well-being. This awareness can help women reduce the degree to which these external barriers are internalized.

Counselors can also work with women on their identity development as both woman and scientist, such as by developing the client's understanding of what it means to be a woman and a scientist. Having a firm sense of identity affects competency beliefs and the perceived cost and benefit of continuing in STEM (Perez, Cromley, & Kaplan, 2014). Expectancy-value theory defines identity as a perception of self-abilities, competence, and values that has an impact on the importance students place on career tasks and expectations of success (Eccles, 2009). By exploring values and motivation for pursuing STEM, female scientists can develop a sense of self wherein being a woman and being a scientist can exist concurrendy. With identity development and change within STEM, women may be better able to become the scientists they are capable of becoming.

Limitations and Future Directions

Although the results provide promising additions to explaining the gender gap in STEM, results should be interpreted within the limitations of the study. These limitations include a predominantly White sample, and the intersectionality of identities affects how individuals perceive their environment (Hurtado et al., 2008). Future studies can assess perceptions of STEM climate from the perspective of students of different identities because perceptions of predominantly White women do not represent the experiences of all women. Whereas the scales used in this study focused on the experience of gender, future studies can incorporate measures that assess the campus climate from a range of identities (e.g., racial identity, first-generation college student identity) to understand how the STEM environment affects a variety of students.

Similarly, data included all students who identified as "female" in one gender category. The experiences of trans women may differ from cis-gender women, and students who identify as transgender may experience a more unwelcoming climate in STEM (Bilimoria & Stewart, 2009). Gaining a better understanding of how gender identity affects perceptions of climate is an area to explore in future research. Differences may also exist for women in different years of school (e.g., first-year student vs. senior) and in different types of STEM majors. Future research can look more closely at women in different stages of their education and in different STEM majors specifically. In addition, the PCCS assessed campus climate more generally and includes several subscales assessing different parts of the campus climate (Janz & Pyke, 2000). Although beyond the scope of this study, the impact of various parts of the climate on students' academic burnout can be examined in future research. Future research can also be done to develop valid and reliable scales to assess the STEM climate specifically. This can allow for more accurate research and lead to a more robust understanding of female scientists' experiences at universities.


This study examined the impact of chilly climate on woman-scientist identity interference and academic burnout among undergraduate women in STEM. Specifically, we found that the relationship between identity interference and a cognitive form of academic burnout (i.e., cynicism) varied according to the degree to which participants perceived their academic climates as being unwelcoming. Similarly, the more woman-scientist interference women experienced, the more emotionally exhausted and less efficacious they felt as students. Results can assist counselors to help women scientists challenge stereotypes and provide support as they navigate hostile academic and work environments. Educators can use the results to create academic environments that minimize gender bias and promote attitudes that encourage the entry of women into STEM fields. It would be particularly helpful for future researchers to examine burnout factors among women who hold multiple stereotyped identities in order to understand the experience of women across a range of identities.


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Received 05/23/18

Received 08/26/18

Accepted 09/12/18

DOI: 10.1002/cdq.12174

Laura E. Jensen and Eric D. Deemer, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Laura E. Jensen, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University, 100 North University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (email:

Caption: FIGURE 1: Chilly Climate Moderating the Relation Between Woman-Scientist Interference and Cynicism

Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations
for Study Variables

Variable      M        SD         1         2

1. EE       22.66     6.17       --
2. CYN      12.95     6.11     .66 **      --
3. AE       29.49     6.01     -.45 **   -.57 **
4. WSI      3.16      0.78     .35 **    .33 **
5. PCC      99.38     22.91    .27 **    .25 **

Variable      3          4          5

1. EE
2. CYN
3. AE         --
4. WSI     -.32 **       --
5. PCC      -.11 *     .53 **       --

Note. EE = emotional exhaustion; CYN = cynicism; AE = academic
efficacy; WSI = woman-scientist interference; PCC = perceived
chilly climate.

* p < .05. ** p < .01.


Results of Hierarchical Regression Analyses Predicting
Three Types of Academic Burnout

                      Emotional Exhaustion

Variable        B      SE     [beta]     p

Step 1
  PCC         1.00    0.41     .15     .016
  WSI         1.66    0.39     .27     <.001
Step 2
  PCC x WSI   -0.24   0.36     -.04    .509


Variable        B      SE     [beta]     p

Step 1
  PCC         0.85    0.42     .13     .043
  WSI         1.58    0.39     .26     <.001
Step 2
  PCC x WSI   -0.78   0.36     -.12    .031

                      Academic Efficacy

Variable        B      SE     [beta]     p

Step 1
  PCC         0.50    0.41     .08     .224
  WSI         -2.23   0.39     -.37    <.001
Step 2
  PCC x WSI   0.64    0.36     .10     .073

Note. PCC = perceived chilly climate; WSI = woman-scientist
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Author:Jensen, Laura E.; Deemer, Eric D.
Publication:Career Development Quarterly
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 1, 2019
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