Imposter phenomenon in radiology: incidence, intervention, and impact on wellness

Swati Devendra Deshmukh*, Karen Shmelev, Lauren Vassilades, Sasha Kurumety, Gaurava Agarwal, Jeanne M. Horowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Imposter phenomenon refers to feelings of inadequacy due to inability to internalize evident success. While high achievers such as physicians have been known to exhibit imposter phenomenon, there is limited literature specific to radiologists. Our purpose was to (1) investigate imposter phenomenon in radiologists and assess correlation with burnout, and (2) pilot an intervention aimed at addressing imposter phenomenon through improvisational theater techniques. Methods: Part 1 - Clinical radiology faculty at a single large academic medical center completed an anonymous survey with questions related to demographics, burnout (derived from the validated Mini-Z assessment tool), and imposter phenomenon. Part 2 - A one-hour interactive workshop on imposter phenomenon was organized for the radiology department at the same institution. The workshop included the Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale (CIPS). A post-workshop survey rating was also performed. Results: Part 1 - Of 30 clinical radiology faculty who participated in the survey, 83% reported feelings of imposter phenomenon during their career. There was significant (p = 0.024) correlation between imposter phenomenon and burnout. Part 2 - Of 21 members of the Department of Radiology who completed the CIPS in the interactive workshop, 71% exhibited frequent or intense symptoms of imposter phenomenon. On the post-workshop survey asking participants to rate the workshop, the mean score was 4.4 and the mode score was 5 on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). Conclusion: Imposter phenomenon affects radiologists and is correlated with burnout. Innovative interventions to address imposter phenomenon such as workshops utilizing medical improvisational techniques are well-received.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-99
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Imaging
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Imposter phenomenon
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Medical improv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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