Possible Selves: An Exploration of the Fears and Aspirations of Persons with and without Disabilities
Birkbeck, University of London
Possible selves are features of the self-concept that represent future imagined outcomes, including the desires we have for the future (hoped-for selves) and all those things we want to avoid becoming (feared selves). This qualitative study examined the construction of hoped-for and feared selves among 38 persons with and without physical disabilities. Content analysis was used to identify the significant categories of possible selves in the sample. Analyses were also done to determine the effects of disability status on possible-self construction. The results indicated that there were differences between the groups especially in the feared selves categories particularly related to the fear of failure. Persons with disabilities were more concerned about not achieving their goals than persons without disabilities. These results imply that we need to focus on helping persons with disabilities increase their levels of self-efficacy and confidence. Further research in this area is essential in helping persons with disabilities reach their full potential.