Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Gunilla Holm

Second Advisor

Paul Farber

Third Advisor

Lynn Brice

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Many high achieving individuals express feelings of fraudulence when it comes to acknowledging success in certain areas of their lives. Even though they have a proven track record of success, these individuals have a hard time owning their success. Instead, they persist in attributing their success to outside forces such as luck, charm, or simply being in the right place at the right time. These feelings of fraudulence lead to a fear of being "found out." Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes (1978) first labeled these symptoms as the Impostor Phenomenon. The Impostor Phenomenon is problematic because the impostor is unable to internalize and celebrate actual success. They handicap themselves and thus prevent themselves from experiencing all of which they are capable. Caught in an IP cycle of procrastination or overpreparation, these individuals lack the empowerment necessary to overcome the phenomenon. The IP is born out of certain family and cultural scenarios, but can be overcome by utilizing mentors, verbalizing impostor feelings, and giving self-care. A thorough study of the research literature is followed by an analytical investigation into the content of messages conveyed by three current popular magazines in regard to the Impostor Phenomenon.

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