A decision theoretic and prototype conceptualization of possible selves: implications for the prediction of risk behavior. Academic Article uri icon


  • The present study explores a new framework for conceptualizing possible selves for the prediction of behavior. The framework uses decision theory, attitude theory, and classic expectancy-value models. The focus is on using possible-self constructs that (a) correspond to behavioral alternatives, (b) focus on self dimensions directly tied to the behavioral criterion, and (c) use expectancy-value constructs to assess the core features of a given possible self-dimension. A study of 305 college students was undertaken to predict alcohol use from possible self constructs using the framework. Results affirmed the utility of the approach, showing that possible-self constructs predicted behavior over and above current self-image and constructs in the Theory of Planned Behavior. Possible-self constructs associated with negative attributes of both binge drinkers and nonbinge drinkers were predictive of behavior.

published proceedings

  • J Pers

altmetric score

  • 25

author list (cited authors)

  • Quinlan, S. L., Jaccard, J., & Blanton, H.

citation count

  • 50

complete list of authors

  • Quinlan, Shannon L||Jaccard, James||Blanton, Hart

publication date

  • April 2006