Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Committee Chair

Richard James

Committee Member

Leigh Holman

Committee Member

Steve Zanskas

Committee Member

Pamela Cogdal


The impostor phenomenon is commonly identified by a distinct set of psychological and behavioral symptoms that are grounded in a pervasive sense of fraudulence or intellectual phoniness. Experiences of impostor symptoms are frequently associated in the literature with increased likelihood of simultaneously experiencing symptoms of psychological distress including depression and anxiety. The present study intended to address a gap in the literature by exploring the relationship between symptoms of the impostor phenomenon and specific student demographic variables (student degree program and student enrollment status), psychological distress variables (anxiety, depression, and perceived stress), and student help-seeking behavior in counseling graduate students enrolled in counseling programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The study analyzed responses from 286 counseling graduate students using a hierarchical regression analysis. Results from the study found that student demographic variables and help-seeking behavior did not explain impostor phenomenon scores. However, the psychological distress variables were positively correlated with impostor phenomenon scores and explained 39% of the variance in impostor scores with perceived stress scores having the highest relative importance. Post hoc analyses on help-seeking behaviors found that help-seeking behavior significantly explained anxiety scores, but not scores for depression, stress, or impostor syndrome. Implications are discussed as to how academic programs and faculty can better support counseling graduate students. Considerations for future research and limitations are also provided.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.