"Am I for real?" Predicting impostor tendencies from self-handicapping and affective components

Shaun E. Cowman1, Joseph R. Ferrari1
1DePaul University, United States
Cite this article:  Cowman, S. E., & Ferrari, J. R. (2002). "Am I for real?" Predicting impostor tendencies from self-handicapping and affective components. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 30(2), 119-126.

Volume 30 Issue 2 | e1160 | Published: March 2002 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2002.30.2.119

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Impostors are individuals who believe their successes are not due to their own ability, but because of either luck or the notion that they must work harder than others. The relationship between impostor tendencies and different behavioral and affective variables was examined. With the present study's sample (N = 436), controlling for social desirability, impostor tendencies were significantly correlated with behavioral self-handicapping (r = .52, p < .001), and with shame-proneness (r = .54, p < .001) more than guilt-proneness (r = .28, p < .001). Regression analyses indicated that self-handicapping and shame-proneness were the best predictors of impostor tendencies (R2 = 0.43). Based on these results it seems that strong impostor tendencies are related to, and best predicted by, self-handicapping behaviors and shame prone affect.

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