Gender and Possible Selves Chapter (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Knox, Michele; Dunkel, Curtis; Kerpelman, Jennifer


  • The purpose of the chapter is to review the literature on possible selves and gender, and to examine how the functions, development, and characteristics of possible selves may differ by gender. The chapter reviews emerging research addressing how these differences may be relevant to gender differences in self-concept, self-esteem and other aspects of functioning. A review of the literature on this topic indicates that males and females may develop and maintain self-esteem and perhaps other related aspects of well-being in disparate ways. Whereas males' possible selves may serve to define them as unique and separate them from others, females may be more likely to incorporate the views of others or representations of others in forming possible selves and in determining self-worth. Gender roles may limit the possible selves that females and males develop, and this may result in constricted behaviors and functioning in areas traditionally characteristic of the opposite gender. The paucity of research in this area suggests the need for caution in making strong conclusions; however, a number of research directions are identified that, when addressed, have the potential to illuminate our understanding of gender-related aspects of multiple domains of human functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)



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