The possible selves of young fathers in prison

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Drawing on the social psychological concept of possible selves, this study explores the future self concept of young fathers in prison. In considering life after release from prison, qualitative data relating to hoped-for, feared and expected possible selves was generated by 34 young fathers aged between 18 and 21 years. The most common categories of hoped-for and expected selves related to employment and parenting, whereas feared selves related predominantly to offending or a return to prison. The prevalence of possible selves relating to parenting suggests that parenthood is a key component of the representations of present and future identity of young fathers in prison. Findings are discussed in relation to the positive aspect of parenthood for young men in prison, parenting identities in the transition from custody to community, future research directions and the development of interventions targeting young fathers in prison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-949
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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