Taylor & Francis Group

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The prevalence of imposter syndrome and associated factors in Chinese medical students and residents: A single-center pilot study

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-19, 01:01 authored by Jingqiao Wang, Wen Shi, Xiaoming Huang, Yang Jiao

Here we aimed to define the prevalence of imposter syndrome (IS) and identify associated characteristics in Chinese medical students and residents enrolled at Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH).

This was a single-center, cross-sectional study of medical students and residents enrolled at PUMCH conducted in September and October 2022. Participants were recruited to complete a 37-question survey on demographics, a Chinese version of the Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale (CIPS), and self-assessments of anxiety, depression, burnout, sleep quality, challenges of clinical learning, and time allocation. IS prevalence and its associated factors were analyzed.

One hundred and forty-eight medical students and 89 residents completed the survey. IS was significant or severe in 62.8% of medical students and 57.2% of residents. Students enrolled in the eight-year program had significantly higher CIPS scores than those enrolled in the 4 + 4 program (66.4 vs. 60.7, p = .005). There were no gender differences in IS prevalence and severity. Participants with severe IS had significantly higher self-rated anxiety, depression, insomnia, and burnout than participants with mild/moderate IS. Participants significantly challenged by clinical learning had significantly higher CIPS scores.

IS is both prevalent and severe in Chinese medical students and residents. Classroom learning, an eight-year program, and being challenged by clinical learning are potentially associated with IS.


This study was supported by Medical Education Quality Project 2022, Peking Union Medical College (2022zlgc0109) and CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (CIFMS) from Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (2021-I2M-1-062). The funding body played no role in the design of the study, the collection, analysis, and manuscript writing.