Imposter Syndrome in Dermatology

Published: 16 December 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/n2dgbzkcsb.1
Michael Brennan, Audrey Fotouhi, Steve Daveluy


Impostor syndrome is characterized by chronic feelings of self-doubt and fear of being discovered as an intellectual fraud. Previous research has shown most dermatology residents suffer from imposter syndrome. Outside of dermatology, research demonstrates resident trainees to higher rates of imposter syndrome than their faculty counterparts. This cross-sectional survey study sought to explore the prevalence of imposter syndrome within dermatology, both among residents and attendings. A survey consisting of 12 questions was sent to the Association of Professors of Dermatology listserv. The members were also told to distribute this survey to their residents. The majority (81.9%) of respondents reported that they did not feel comfortable calling themselves a dermatologist until after their third year of residency. There was no significant different in rates of imposter syndrome between males and females. Current career level and self-perceived competitiveness of application when applying to dermatology were significant determinants of responses. Inadequate unsupervised practice prior to residency completion was reported as a major contributor to imposter syndrome. Limitations include generalizability and the cross-sectional nature of the study. The results of this survey may serve as a guide to academic dermatology in creating meaningful health and wellness activities that will help dermatologist overcome imposter syndrome.



Dermatology, Syndrome, Burnout