Are Narcissists More Likely to Experience Imposter Syndrome?

                                                                                Imposter Syndrome and Narcissism

As suspected, imposter syndrome was strongly correlated with vulnerable narcissism (r= .72, p < . 01). Here are some of the items that appeared on the imposter syndrome test:

  • Sometimes I am afraid I will be discovered for who I really am.
  • I tend to feel like a phony.
  • I’m afraid people important to me may find out that I’m not as capable as they think I am.
  • Sometimes I’m afraid others will discover how much knowledge or ability I really lack.
  • In some situations I feel like a “great pretender”; that is, I’m not as genuine as others think I am.

Both vulnerable narcissism and imposter syndrome were linked to other metrics of inauthenticity, including a weak sense of self, self-alienation, and high levels of accepting external influence from others. It appears that imposter syndrome goes along with a general nexus of behaviors that relate to a loss of a sense of self and authentic responding in the world. While these results hadn’t been documented before, they were expected. Our findings with grandiose narcissism, however, really surprised us.


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