What is and how does impostor syndrome affect us?

Perfectionist people, self-critical, afraid of failure and who self-pressure to achieve their goals are at greater risk of suffering from impostor syndrome , according to Marta Calderero, professor of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the Open University of Catalunya (UOC), who has pointed out that those affected have a high level of self-demand in common .

This syndrome is a psychological affectation that affects up to 70% of people at some point in their lives, according to the study “The impostor phonomenon”, published in ” International Journal of Behavorial Science ” and developed by Jaruwan Sakulku, professor at the Institute from Research in Behavioral Sciences from Srinakharinwirot University (Thailand), and James Alexander, from the Faculty of Psychology, University of Tasmania (Australia), collected by EP

It usually occurs in people with high performance , explains Boilermaker. Thus, people who suffer from it have difficulties accepting their achievements on their own merits, since they attribute them to external factors , which leads to the development of insecurity or fear of being conceived as an impostor in their work. This can have consequences such as job blocking.

Thus, a study carried out by a group of researchers from the University of Salzburg (Austria) has concluded that most of those affected have limited their professional career , have lower salaries, fewer promotions than colleagues with similar experience and more problems for Job search. In this sense, social pressures play a ” fundamental ” role , which increase the problem.

“Currently there is excessive pressure to achieve new goals, which never ends; Increasingly, our self-esteem is linked to the achievement achieved. This, added to the lack of a clear and positive return on the part of the environment , generates in people a great deal of confusion when it comes to differentiating messages of appreciation and approval and constructive criticism, and unjustified or disrespectful criticism, “says the teacher.

Finally, a report carried out by the University of Cincinnati (USA) has highlighted that men have an 18% less chance of suffering from impostor syndrome and 2 out of 3 women have experienced it during some time of their lifetime. It has also highlighted that up to 86% of young people between 18 and 34 years old have suffered from this condition, with people between 45 and 54 years of age having suffered the least. Thus, he has ruled that one of the main causes of this disorder is criticism .

Guidelines to overcome it

Denial of self-worth is a heavy burden

In this context, Eva Rimbau, professor of the UOC’s Business and Economics Studies, and Professor Calderero have elaborated five keys with the aim of helping those affected to overcome this syndrome.

They advise to write down the achievements and skills obtained to recognize the value of each one.

On the other hand, they have highlighted the “importance” of surrounding oneself with loved ones and remembering with them the successes achieved.

They have also explained that false errors should be detected , noting those aspects that are thought not to be done well, subjecting them to a realistic evaluation.

Finally, they have concluded that the experience should be shared to help other people with less training and learn from failures.


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