The possible selves of diverse adolescents: Content and function across gender, race and national origin

Daphna Oyserman*, Stephanie Fryberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides an overview of what is known about content of possible selves and implications of possible selves for outcomes for male and female teens differing in race/ethnicity (African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American, and white teens). Although findings are somewhat ambiguated by heterogeneity in time focus (e.g. next year', when you are an adult', in five years'), it appears that expected possible selves for the near future most commonly focus on academic and interpersonal domains, while fears are more diverse. There is some evidence that number of academic possible selves declines across the transition to middle school and from middle to high school. Low income, rural and Hispanic youth are at risk of having few academic or occupational possible selves, or having such general possible selves in these domains that they are unlikely to promote self-regulation. For a number of reasons, possible selves of girls may function more effectively as self-regulators. Moreover, there is at least some evidence that content of possible selves and especially the existence of strategies to attain these selves is predictive of academic attainment and delinquent involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRace and Ethnicity
Subtitle of host publicationCultural Roles, Spiritual Practices and Social Challenges
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781606920992
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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