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Possible selves as a mechanism for identity exploration.

Authors
  • Dunkel, C S
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of adolescence
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2000
Volume
23
Issue
5
Pages
519–529
Identifiers
PMID: 11073694
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examined one possible mechanism involved in the identity exploration process. From a constructivist perspective identity is conceptualized as a self-theory. Using self-theory as a model of identity, it was proposed that the exploration process involves the production of hypotheses or possibilities about the self. A total of 277 participants were given the EOM-EIS-2 in order to make identity status classifications, and the close-ended possible selves questionnaire in order to measure aspects of their possible selves. Because the Moratorium status is defined by active exploration, it was predicted that this status group would be associated with a greater number of possible selves. This prediction was confirmed, partly because of the greater number of negative possible selves that were endorsed, which could signify increased anxiety, balance, and motivation for change. Distinctions between the committed identity status groups and the Diffusion status group also emerged. The pattern of responses exhibited by the Diffusion group appears to reflect a lack of thought and confidence regarding positive prospects for the future.

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