Imposter Syndrome Among First- and Continuing-Generation College Students: The Roles of Perfectionism and Stress

Holden et al. / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, & Practice / June 2021

More research is needed to understand the relationships between imposter syndrome, perfection, and stress, as well as how they might be similar or different among first- and continuing-generation college students. This research study examines the relationships among imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and stress among first- and continuing-generation college students. Participants included 388 college students, including 184 (47.4%) first-generation students. Results indicate levels of imposter syndrome and stress are similar between first- and continuing-generation students. Levels of socially prescribed perfectionism are significantly correlated with imposter syndrome and stress for both groups; however, imposter syndrome is more strongly associated with stress among first-generation students. Implications for college student mental health and retention are discussed.