Using academic skill set interventions to reduce impostor phenomenon feelings in postgraduate students

Jonathan Cisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)


Impostor phenomenon (IP) refers to an overwhelming feeling of intellectual fraudulence and affects individuals across a number of fields. Academia provides an environment in which these feelings can flourish, particularly within postgraduate students. In spite of the research exploring these feelings, we know little about how to reduce them in academia. Clinical research has identified guiding principles to assist those affected, particularly through mentorship. This article describes a series of interventions for postgraduates adapted from clinical research. These four interventions identified IP and its consequences, explored disciplinary and academic literacies strategies, and taught postgraduate students how to read academic journal articles and use literacy strategies to write literature reviews. Parametric and nonparametric analyses show that impostor feelings reduced by 23% relative to a control group. This research suggests that programmes could use similar interventions in academic skill sets to help reduce IP feelings in their postgraduate students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-437
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date31 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2019


  • impostor phenomenon
  • impostor syndrome
  • postgraduate education
  • disciplinary literacy
  • academic literacy


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