The imposter phenomenon is a concept used to characterize the presence of intense feelings of intellectual fraudulence, particularly among high-achieving women. Researchers have tried to explain not only why this phenomenon occurs, but why it is more prevalent in highly successful women. This study predicts that the intersection of gender with race, class, and parental educational attainment contributes to women’s feelings of fraudulence. Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale (CIPS) scores were used to determine the effects of identity variables on imposter feelings in a sample of 403 female graduate students. Results indicate a strongly positive relationship between Native American identity and imposter feelings. More specifically, Native American female graduate students had much higher CIPS scores than all other racial groups, indicating a greatly increased sense of intellectual fraudulence. Conversely, Asian identity was significantly associated with lower CIPS scores. Additionally, higher socioeconomic status and paternal educational attainment were found to have a significant negative effect on CIPS scores.
"Why Do High-Achieving Women Feel Like Frauds? Intersecting Identities and the Imposter Phenomenon,"
Great Plains Sociologist: Vol. 27:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://openprairie.sdstate.edu/greatplainssociologist/vol27/iss1/6