The Role of the Imposter Phenomenon on First-Generation College Students

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stanysha Lowery (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jasmine DeJesus

Abstract: This study investigated the relation between the imposter phenomenon and first-generation college students, analyzed key concepts to understand the phenomenon as they related to the overall college experience, and examined the difference in the behaviors of first-generation college students compared to non-first-generation college students. The imposter phenomenon is often referred to an individual having doubts in their achievement and fearing that one day they will be exposed for being intellectually inadequate. Previous research has found a negative correlation between the imposter phenomenon and marginalized people, individuals experiencing impostorism and low-self-perception, and high scores on imposter measures and high scores on neuroticism measures. The current study focused on concepts related to the phenomenon which included self-perception, self-efficacy, and the big five personality traits, and they were analyzed against academic achievement, college life satisfaction, and social connectedness. One hundred and thirty-seven participants reported whether or not they were first-generation college students and responded to a set of questionnaires that analyzed the concepts mentioned above. Imposter phenomenon scores did not differ by generation status, but first-generation students reported lower satisfaction with life than non-first-generation students. Additionally, a correlational matrix showed significant relations between the imposter phenomenon and neuroticism. The result of this study suggests that there are a variety of factors that influence the college experience of first-generation college students.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Language: English
Date: 2022
Imposter phenomenon, First-generation, Self-perception, Self-efficacy, Big five personality traits

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