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Prevalence and Severity of Imposter Syndrome among Surgical and Medical Residents in Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Mohammad Ibrahim Almatrafi, Abdulaziz Fahad Albarakati, Ethar Abdullah Alsulami, Raghad Essam Saleh, Malek Moawad Alharbi, Mokhtar Mahfouz Shatla.


Background and Aims: Imposter syndrome (IS) is defined by a persistent feeling of self-doubt combined with fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite objective measures of success, which threatens mental health and well-being. The prevalence and severity of IS have not been studied among surgical and medical residents on a large scale. Therefore, the primary objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and severity of IS among surgical and medical residents in Makkah hospitals, Saudi Arabia.

Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional study was performed by using the Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale (CIPS) on surgical and medical residents in Makkah hospitals. A total of 207 residents were collected by using an online version. The obtained data were statistically analyzed using SPSS version 24.

Results: 207 residents fulfilling the inclusion criteria completed the study questionnaire. Only 3.9% of residents had a low level of imposter characteristics, 45.9% had a moderate level, 47.3% had a high level, while 2.9% had intense imposter feelings. In addition, high to intense imposter feelings were detected among 54.4% female residents compared to 42.3% of males. Surgical residents and residents in their first years of residency showed insignificantly higher imposter feelings than others (51%, 61.5% for R2 residents; P> 0.05 for all). All other factors were insignificantly affecting the resident’s imposter syndrome score.

Conclusions: Imposter syndrome is prevalent among surgical and medical residents and was significantly higher in females than males in Makkah city hospitals, Saudi Arabia.

Key words: Prevalence, Imposter syndrome, Surgical and medical residents

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