There is lots out there about Imposter "Syndrome". As you may have seen on my socials, my belief is that it is rarer that we would be led to believe (and even rare than the 70% discussed below). For a start, the word "Syndrome" is still being used.
Humans are complex at the best of times, but being able to have a label or identifying with the behaviours, actions and thoughts allocated to Imposter via Dr. Google can also be just as detrimental as the very thing trying to be understood!
Having worked for years with clients, the initial research linking High Achieving Women with Imposter focussed on a) their level of skills, experience and ability and b) the crippling symptoms associated.
Often, when people are discussing Imposter, they are talking about Self-Doubt.
So, let's get to some of the details of Imposter:
The Impostor Phenomenon (IP), also known as Impostor Syndrome, refers to a pattern of thinking where individuals doubt their own accomplishments and feel like they are not deserving of the success they have achieved. The concept was first described in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, who observed this phenomenon among high-achieving women.
Research on the Impostor Phenomenon has been conducted across various fields, including psychology, sociology, education, and organisational behaviour.
Some key findings from this research are:
- Prevalence: The Impostor Phenomenon is experienced by both men and women, and across various professions and industries. Estimates suggest that up to 70% of people may experience IP at some point in their lives.
- Causes: The causes of the Impostor Phenomenon are complex and multifaceted. Factors that may contribute to IP include perfectionism, fear of failure, low self-esteem, social and cultural pressures, and family upbringing.
- Consequences: The Impostor Phenomenon can have negative effects on individuals' mental health and well-being, including anxiety, depression, and burnout. It can also impact job satisfaction, career advancement, and interpersonal relationships.
- Coping Strategies: Various coping strategies have been suggested to help individuals overcome the Impostor Phenomenon, including seeking support from others, acknowledging and accepting one's accomplishments, challenging negative self-talk, and reframing the way success is perceived.
Overall, research on the Impostor Phenomenon has provided valuable insights into the experiences and challenges faced by individuals who struggle with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. It has also highlighted the importance of creating supportive and inclusive environments in which individuals can feel valued and recognised for their contributions.