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Perceived Support, Belonging, and Possible Selves Strategies Among Incarcerated Juvenile Offenders


  • The authors thank all of the youth who participated in this research, and the staff and administrators who allowed us to come into their facilities to conduct the research. Participating institutions include China Spring/Aurora Pines Youth Camp, Minden, Nevada; Caliente Youth Center, Caliente, Nevada; McLaughlin Youth Center, Anchorage, Alaska; Juvenile Corrections Center–St. Anthony, St. Anthony, Idaho; and Hillcrest Youth Correctional Center, Salem, Oregon. We would also like to thank Shawn Marsh and Tusty Zohra for their help with coding.

Samantha Clinkinbeard, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, CB218, Omaha, NE 68134. E-mail:


Possible selves theory (Markus & Nurius, 1986) suggests that future-oriented expectations, fears, and strategies are constrained by feedback in one's sociocultural context. The current paper represents a preliminary look into the relationship between support in one's immediate context and the development of strategies for the achievement of desired future selves. Youthful offenders (N = 543) were surveyed in secured treatment facilities in Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon. Program belonging was a consistent predictor of strategy generation among both males and females, and attributional support from a staff person was significant among males. The findings support further examination of interpersonal interactions as they relate to future-oriented planning and point to a need for further investigation into the development of concrete strategies.