Imposter’s Syndrome hits 70% of people in the workplace at some time or another. It was first identified in a paper called “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention‚Äù written by leading psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Dr. Suzanne A. Imes in 1978. Initially, a condition thought to be predominantly found in high-achieving women – later research revealed that both men and women can be affected by it at any time.
The researchers investigated the prevalence of this internal experience by interviewing a sample of 150 high-achieving women. All of the participants had been formally recognized for their professional excellence by colleagues, and academic achievements by degrees earned, and top-ranking scores on standardized testing.
Despite the consistent evidence of external validation, these women lacked the internal acknowledgement of their accomplishments. The participants explained how their success was a result of luck, and others simply overestimating their intelligence and abilities. Clance and Imes believed that this mental framework for the impostor phenomenon developed from factors such as gender stereotypes, early family dynamics, culture, and attribution style. The researchers determined that the women who experienced impostor phenomenon showcased symptoms related to depression, generalized anxiety, and low self-confidence.