Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Imposter Phenomenon (IP), also known as Imposter Syndrome, is an internal experience that has been observed to occur in high achieving individuals. These individuals do not believe their achievements are due to their own abilities or hard-work: They credit external sources such as luck, errors in admissions or grading, or fooling others as the reason for any successes. IP has been observed in many populations including college professors, medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy students, librarians with graduate degrees, and other successful professionals. Previous research has found that individuals who experience IP may also experience fear of failure, fear of negative evaluation, and perfectionism. However, the literature does not appear to completely agree on whether IP is a distinct psychological phenomenon, an affective state, or a compilation of other constructs that is poorly labeled. The present study examined whether IP, fear of failure, fear of negative evaluation, and perfectionism are highly correlated with and predictive of one another, in high achieving individuals. Results indicate that high scores on measures of imposter phenomenon are associated with high scores on measures of fear of failure, fear of negative evaluation, and perfectionism; however, the relationship between variables is not significantly moderated by achievement.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Imposter phenomenon, achievement, fear of failure, negative evaluation, perfectionism

Thesis Advisor

Sean Rife

Committee Member

Dr. Laura Liljequist

Committee Member

Dr. Amanda Joyce

Committee Member

Dr. Michael Morgan

Document Type