School for Social Work
This two phase study explored what socializing factors contribute to feelings of fraudulence among high achieving, diverse female undergraduates aged 18-22. By means of a questionnaire and the Clance IP Scale, Phase I of the study captured demographic information of participants who self identified as feeling like a fake or fraud in academia and the degree to which their fraudulent feelings affect their lives. During Phase II, 10 participants whose scores on the Scale were 61 and above were interviewed to collect qualitative data pertaining to each participant's social and academic history and their perspectives on what factors contribute to their feelings of fraudulence in academia. The findings of this study suggest that some of the socializing factors contributing to feelings of fraudulence among undergraduate women include sexism, racism, classism, messages from one's family of origin about the nature of success or intelligence, hierarchical systems within academia, and conflicting messages about femininity and intelligence. One unanticipated finding was the fact that that many of the women in this study attributed their academic success to social and economic opportunities and privilege.
Wiener, Sara E., "The impostor phenomenon : an exploratory study of the socializing factors that contribute to feelings of fraudulence among high achieving, diverse female undergraduates" (2008). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.