Gender Differences in Adolescents' Possible Selves


  • The purpose of the study was to better understand gender differences in global self-esteem at adolescence by examining the content of and gender differences within adolescents' “possible selves.” Possible selves are self-conceptions about both what an individual hopes to become and fears becoming. Results support the hypothesis that adolescents are able to access and report a vast array of possible selves. As hypothesized, female adolescents rated feared possible selves as more likely than boys. Girls accessed more feared possible selves related to relational functioning, whereas boys generated more feared possible selves related to occupation, general failure, and inferiority. No gender differences in likelihood or content of hoped-for possible selves were demonstrated. Results indicate that differences in boys' and girls' self-views may be rooted in the experienced importance and likelihood of feared selves. Implications for assessment and treatment addressing adolescent self-esteem are discussed.

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