Imposter phenomenon: Do demographics & feelings of intellectual fraudulence impact undergraduates’ stress and motivation levels?

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Daly, Ciaran
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Many people have felt that in some instances their success was a factor of luck, error, or oversight rather than a reflection of their own abilities. Often this can lead to a fear of being ‘found out’, even in highly capable individuals. The feeling of intellectual fraudulence is termed ‘Imposter Phenomenon’. This study utilised a correlational design to examine imposter phenomenon (IP), perceived stress, academic motivation levels, and academic hassles & uplifts in first-year law, business, and psychology undergraduate students (n=112). Support was found for some hypotheses, but not all. Female participants self-reported significantly higher levels of imposterism than their male classmates. The results also indicated that with increased age, feelings of imposterism decline. Lastly, a positive relationship between feelings of imposterism and extrinsic academic motivation levels was observed. The findings were interpreted in accordance with previous studies, with both the impact and the potential direction for future research discussed.