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Attributional and affective responses of impostors to academic success and failure outcomes


Thompson, T and Davis, HR and Davidson, J, Attributional and affective responses of impostors to academic success and failure outcomes, Personality and Individual Differences, 25, (2) pp. 381-396. ISSN 0191-8869 (1998) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(98)00065-8


Individuals who suffer from impostor fears harbour secret intense feelings of fraudulence in the face of achievement tasks and situations. This study investigated affective and attributional reactions of impostors following success and failure feedback. N = 164 undergraduate students were presented with a vignette depicting either hypothetical success or failure outcomes in a 2 (feedback: success, fail) × 2 (impostor fears: high low) between-subjects factorial design. Participants then responded to post-vignette items which assessed their cognitive, attributional and affective reactions, and completed several personality measures including the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale [Clance, P. R. (1985). The impostor phenomenon: Overcoming the fear that haunts your success. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers]. Elements of perfectionism were evident in a propensity on the part of students with high impostor scores to externalise success and hold high standards for self-evaluation, while being intolerant of their failure to meet these standards. Impostors' greater reporting of negative emotions, together with their tendency to attribute failure internally and overgeneralise a single failure to their overall self-concepts underscore the veracity of clinical observations which suggest links between impostor fears, anxiety, and depression. These findings are important to an understanding of the dynamics and treatment of impostor fears. © 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Social and personality psychology
Research Field:Personality and individual differences
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Thompson, T (Dr Ted Thompson)
UTAS Author:Davis, HR (Miss Helen Ruth Davis)
UTAS Author:Davidson, J (Dr John Davidson)
ID Code:14816
Year Published:1998
Web of Science® Times Cited:67
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:1998-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-09

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