A decision theoretic and prototype conceptualization of possible selves: Implications for the prediction of risk behavior

Shannon L. Quinlan, James Jaccard, Hart Blanton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-630
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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