Submission ID 77941

Code OD-3-2
At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
Category Medical Education
Type Oral
Will the presenter be a: Early Career Faculty - (Less than 7 years of practice)
Title Exploring the Link Between Workplace Discrimination and Imposter Syndrome
Background/Purpose When smart and accomplished people feel like intellectual frauds, their feelings of self-doubt can create barriers to professional development. Imposter syndrome (IS) is typically conceptualized as a personal problem requiring individually-focused solutions, yet external forces such as discrimination may explain why women may be disproportionately affected by IS. Our purpose was to explore the link between workplace discrimination and women trainees' and faculty physicians' perceptions of their competence.
Methods 40 women (n=27 trainees) participated in semi-structured interviews exploring how macro and microaggressions shape self-assessment. We identified codes and categories using the constant comparative approach customary to constructivist grounded theory.
Results Participants recounted multiple instances-both subtle and explicit-where their contributions and capabilities were questioned because of their gender. While some participants endorsed moments of self-doubt, most emphatically denied that discrimination triggered imposter feelings. Instead, participants suggested that incompetence was imposed on them by peers, preceptors, or patients. Consequently, rather than provoking IS, participants recognized that the problem was discrimination, not their competence, suggesting: "It's not imposter syndrome, it's they don't want me in the field."
Discussion The link between workplace discrimination and IS appears tenuous, aligning with recent debates arguing that conversations about IS have not fully accounted for how workplace discrimination shapes internal and external perceptions of women's competence. Applying the imposter label to women may be a form of psychological manipulation that not only puts the onus on women to solve entrenched sociocultural and systematic failings, but also positions arrested professional development as a personal failing.
Keyword 1 Equity, diversity, and inclusion
Keyword 2 women in medicine
Keyword 3 imposter syndrome
Abstract content most relevant to: (check all that apply) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) (faculty development, CME)
Residency Education
Undergraduate Medical Education
Abstract Track - First Choice Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Authors Kori LaDonna
Emily Field
Lindsay Cowley
Kimberley Thomas
Shiphra Ginsburg
Chris Watling
Rachael pack

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