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Imposter fears : some hypothesised antecedents and consequences


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Sakulku, J (2009) Imposter fears : some hypothesised antecedents and consequences. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The Impostor Phenomenon was identified from clinical observations
during therapeutic sessions with high achieving women by Dr Pauline Clance.
Despite objective evidence of success, these women had a pervasive
psychological experience, believing that they were intellectual frauds and feared
being recognised as impostors. They suffered from anxiety, fear of failure and
dissatisfaction with life. Previous research has suggested that family achievement
values and perfectionism may lead to the related trait, Impostorism.
This thesis examined the contributions of mixed messages about
achievement from family and perfectionism as hypothesised antecedents of
Impostorism and coping styles and psychological distress (measured by anxiety,
somatisation, and depression) as hypothesised consequences. Complete data was
obtained from 354 students from the University of Tasmania. Participants
completed the Mixed Messages about Achievement from Family Scale (MMAS),
the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, the Clance Impostor Phenomenon
Scale (CIPS), the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations, and the Anxiety,
Somatisation, and Depression subscales of the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised.
Exploratory Factor Analysis was used to refine the MMAS and the CIPS.
Structural Equation Modelling was used to test the hypothesised
antecedents and consequences models of Impostorism. The analyses for
antecedents of Impostorism found that MMAS and Socially Prescribed
Perfectionism were moderately correlated with Imposto!ism, while Self-Oriented
Perfectionism was less related. Other-Oriented Perfectionism had little relationship with Impostorism, suggesting Impostorism relates to specific types of
perfectionism rather than general perfectionism. The final Antecedents model of
Impostorism, including Mixed Messages from Family, Socially Prescribed
Perfectionism, and Self-Oriented Perfectionism, was a good fit and accounted for
46% of the variance in Impostorism.
The analysis of consequences oflmpostorism found that Emotion-
Focussed Coping was most strongly correlated with Impostorism, with the other
coping styles negligibly related. Anxiety, Somatisation, and Depression were also
correlated with Impostorism and treated as indices of Psychological Distress. The
final Consequences model oflmpostorism~ including Emotion-Focussed Coping
largely mediating the prediction of Psychological Distress, was a reasonable fit
and could account for 40% of the variance in Psychological Distress.
The Antecedents and Consequences model of Impostorism were combined
and generated two alternative models. In Model 1 Impostorism entirely mediated
the relationship between hypothesied antecedents and consequences. In Model 2
Emotion-Focussed Coping fully mediated the relationship between Impostorism
and Psychological Distress if a path from Socially Prescribed Perfectionism to
Emotion-Focussed Coping was allowed.
Overall, the findings suggested that Impostorism is a valuable construct,
possibly mediating the relationship between self-imposed and socially attributed
perfectionism and psychological distress, as well as suggesting that emotion focussed
coping may be a critical consequence of Impostorism leading to
Psychological Distress.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Impostor phenomenon, Fear of failure, Distress (Psychology)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2009 the author

Additional Information:

Available for use in the Library but NOT for copying until 10 July 2011. After that date, available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (DPsych (Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 03:19
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2016 22:46
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