Impostor Phenomenon: an Overview of Foreign Studies



This study entails the overview of international research of impostor phenomenon. Individuals with high impostor phenomenon are not able to internalize their professional success and are afraid to be found as frauds. It can be regarded as a clear obstacle for successful career development. Recently there has been a marked increase in the interest to impostor phenomenon studies. As a result, the number of research publication on imposter phenomenon has grown sharply. This article attempts to classify these publications into three distinct groups: studies of imposter phenomenon in working context, research of impostor phenomenon and other personality dispositions, psychometric studies of a range of impostor phenomenon scales and their adaptations into different languages. Possible approaches to conceptualization of this phenomenon are discussed in the article as well as significance of this phenomenon in Russia. Directions of possible future studies have been identified. Also important are the tasks to clarify the definition of the impostor phenomenon and its factor structure. We examine into the possibility of studying the impostor phenomenon on samples of working adults and the application of multivariate analysis methods in data processing. The necessity of scientific study of ways to overcome or reduce the severity of the impostor phenomenon is emphasized.

General Information

Keywords: impostor phenomenon, scale development and adaptation, working environment, self-esteem, subjective well-being

Journal rubric: General Psychology

Article type: review article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 20-013-00743.

Received: 08.01.2023


For citation: Sheveleva M.S. Impostor Phenomenon: an Overview of Foreign Studies [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2023. Vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 116–124. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2023120211. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Marina S. Sheveleva, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Head of Department of Foreign Languages, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Perm, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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