This essential, groundbreaking, research from Dr. Clance and Dr. Imes at Georgia State in 1978 brought a new term to the fore, describing experiences of high achieving women: the imposter (impostor) phenomenon, or sometimes as it has been described in the popular press, "impostor syndrome."
The original abstract of the journal article is as follows:
The term "impostor phenomenon" is used to designate an internal experience of intellectual phoniness that appears to be particularly prevalent and intense among a select sample of high achieving women. Certain early family dynamics and later introjection of societal sex-role stereotyping appear to contribute significantly to the development of the impostor phenomenon. Despite outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the impostor phenomenon persist in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. Numerous achievements, which one might expect to provide ample objective evidence of superior intellectual functioning, do not appear to affect the impostor belief. Four factors that contribute to the maintenance of impostor feelings over time are explored. Therapeutic approaches found to be effective in helping women change the impostor self-concept are described.
This paper is available at no charge to Georgia State University students, faculty and staff through the University library, using a GSU campus ID and password to log in to the EBSCOHost database. (The DOI web link will not take GSU users to the University Library's free holding, and is included as a part of the citation for bibliographical/citation listing purposes.)
The title of this paper is spelled using "imposter" as published by the APA.
Citation for Reference Purposes
The DOI address will not take GSU users to the University Library, and is included here only for inclusion into citation listings.
Clance, P. R., & Imes, S. A. (1978). The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 15(3), 241–247. doi.org/10.1037/h0086006