Context: Impostor syndrome (IS) is increasingly recognised as a condition among physicians and physicians in training. Impostor syndrome is especially problematic because of its association with increased rates of burnout and suicide. In order to address this issue, we need to fully understand its prevalence, scope, and factors associated with IS. The purpose of this scoping review is to analyse the existing literature on IS among practising physicians and physicians in training in order to identify current trends and directions for future research. Methods: The authors conducted a literature search of nine databases for any articles on IS among practising physicians or physicians in training published prior to January 2019. Two reviewers independently screened articles and identified 18 papers meeting the study inclusion criteria. Two authors independently extracted data and performed quantitative and qualitative syntheses consistent with best practice recommendations for scoping reviews. Results: Most studies utilised the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale and cited rates of IS ranging from 22% to 60%. Studies found that gender, low self-esteem and institutional culture were associated with higher rates of IS, whereas social support, validation of success, positive affirmation, and both personal and shared reflections were protective. Overall, IS was also associated with higher rates of burnout. Conclusions: This review summarises the existing literature on IS among practising physicians and physicians in training, providing valuable insights and areas for future research.
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