Women and the Imposter Syndrome in Astronomy

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Women and the Imposter Syndrome in Astronomy

July 2015
Rachel Ivie and Arnell Ephraim

This article, published in AAS’ STATUS in January of 2011, examines whether women astronomy graduate students are more likely to feel like “imposters” than men. We use data from the first round of the Longitudinal Study of Astronomy Graduate Students (LSAGS). This study follows people who were in graduate school in astronomy in 2006-07; the first survey was conducted in 2007-08. The imposter syndrome was first used by psychologists in 1978 to describe highly successful women who had difficulty internally recognizing their own achievements. We found that if students, both male and female, are mentored, they are less likely to feel like imposters in astronomy.

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