Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research

Additional Author Details

This paper was presented at the 32nd National Training Aircraft Symposium (NTAS) March 2 - 4, 2020, in Daytona Beach, FL.

Click the following link to view the conference presentation What Factors Influence the Imposter Phenomenon amongst Collegiate Flight Students?






Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Key words

Imposter Phenomenon, Collegiate Pilots, Self-Handicapping


Background: Imposter Syndrome (IS), also called Imposter Phenomenon (IP), has been studied in a variety of paradigms over the past few decades. However, IP is not a well-researched concept in the field of aviation, and no studies that we know of have examined this phenomenon with student pilots.

Method: Two hundred and forty-one student pilots were interviewed from two southeastern universities with flight schools. Participants were asked a series of questions about demographics, flight training, personality measures, self-efficacy, self-handicapping, and perceived organizational support. In addition, they responded to the Clance IP scale.

Results: A regression equation was created from the first dataset and tested for model fit with a second dataset. Four factors were found to be significant, including measures of self-handicapping, measures of self-efficacy, income, and the type of flight school, accounting for approximately 40% of the variance in the data. Model fit was strong, providing future researchers with a predictive model of IP for student pilots.

Conclusion: These findings show that IP is prevalent in student pilots and correlates with self-handicapping. This is a concern that should be addressed in aviation programs.

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