Impostor phenomenon and its consequences: the relation between impostor phenomenon and burnout among PhD students

Cristea, M. (Invited speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Have you ever been in an auditorium attending a lecture or in a research meeting and experienced a sinking feeling that you did not belong there? That it was only a matter of time before your supervisors and colleagues will figure out you’re a fraud? Do not worry, you are not the only one. In fact, 70% of individuals have experience an episode of impostor syndrome in their lifetime (Gravois, 2007; Sakulku, 2011). Moreover, “academia is filled with intelligent, successful people who are pursued by these doubts and fears, many of which are created or encouraged by the structures and conditions of our profession” (Houston, 2015, p. 73). So what exactly is the impostor syndrome? The imposter phenomenon (IP, Clance 1985) refers to a subjective unfounded perception of one’s intellectuality inadequacy experienced by high achievers such as academics, despite their legitimate accomplishments (Parkman, 2016). So why is IP important? High levels of IP can impact an individual’s wellbeing, leading to feeling bad about oneself, depression (Bernard, Dollinger & 2002; Oriel, Plane, & Mundt, 2004), anxiety (Clance & O’Toole, 1987; Steinberg, 1986), burnout (McGregor, Gee, & Posey, 2008) as well as their professional life, leading to poor academic performance, dropout, and fearing actions to further their career. What is the aim of this workshop? To examine the key characteristics of the IP, and its consequences on academics’ personal and professional life with a particular focus on burnout. Furthermore, we will be discussing instruments used to measure IP and burnout and then identify several strategies to overcome feelings of impostorism.
Period12 Oct 2020
Event typeWorkshop
LocationGeneva, Switzerland
Degree of RecognitionInternational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


  • impostor phenomenon
  • burnout
  • academics