Leary, M. R., Patton, K., Orlando, A., & Funk, W. W. (2000). The impostor phenomenon: Self-perceptions, reflected appraisals, and interpersonal strategies. Journal of Personality, 68, 725-756.
Primary use / Purpose:
The impostor phenomenon refers to people who are objectively competent but feel the opposite and therefore fear being unmasked. In light of the strength and pervasiveness of the self-esteem motive, the impostor phenomenon presents an enigma because so-called impostors appear to lack this fundamental tendency for self-enhancement. According to previous work, impostors experience discomfort when they succeed, attribute their successes to factors other than their ability, and deny they are as competent as their behavior seems to indicate (Clance, 1985; Clance & Imes, 1978; Harvey & Katz, 1985). The belief that they are not as competent as they appear to others leads these otherwisen successful individuals to feel like an impostor or a fraud, and to fear public exposure of their inadequacies. This Imposterism Scale combines items from three most common measures of imposterism: The Impostor Phenomenon Scale (IPS; Harvey & Katz, 1985), the Impostor Test (IT; Clance, 1985), and the Perceived Fraudulence Scale (PFS; Kolligian & Sternberg, 1991).