Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Doctor of Medical Science


Mark E. Archambault, DHSc, PA-C



Purpose: The purpose of this manuscript is to 1) highlight the significance of early identification of Impostor Phenomenon in Physician Assistant students using the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale survey, 2) address the emotional influence on students, and 3) provide strategies to decrease its negative impact on student wellness.

Method: The literature search for Impostorism resourcing Pubmed and Google Scholar identified 155 articles. Refining the search to the past five years, and free full-text and full-text modifiers, shorten the list to 33 items. A review of abstracts resulted in ten references pertinent to this manuscript.

Results: The initial IP research claimed that Impostorism only affected high-achieving women. Subsequent research proved that men and women are both affected by Impostorism, with some studies asserting women are more affected than men or equivocal. Research consistently demonstrates that medical learners, providers, and faculty suffer from Impostorism at rates 30% or higher. Other studies report that the feelings of Impostorism can plague medical professions throughout their career, even with awareness and treatment.

Conclusion: Imposter Phenomenon continues to afflict medical learners across the gamut of health care. The literature associates IP with depression, anxiety, and burnout among 30% of medical learners. The troublesome effects of IP on the well-being of students merit early identification and intervention to foster wellness and the success of our students. The Clance IP Scale provides a timely evaluation of students for early recognition of the Impostor Phenomenon. Intervention strategies are available to assist students in dealing with feelings of fraudulence to improve their well-being.


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