Examining the effects of epiphanies on possible selves

Michelle L Barreto, Florida International University


This study examined origins of possible selves and the role of Epiphanies. Specifically, of interest was whether there are demographic or self-regulatory differences in possible selves derived from different origins. The sample consisted of 411 participants, with age ranging from 17–95. The data was taken from two previous research studies on possible selves. The first research question examined the origins of possible selves. Results indicate that possible selves are derived from Epiphany experiences along with internal and external influences, such as another person, or a particular event. The second research question determined whether there were any demographic, ethnic, or cultural differences in the origins of possible selves. Results showed age, cohort, and socioeconomic status had effects. The final research question addressed whether there were differences in the domains of possible selves derived from various origins. Results indicated differences in domains however there were no clear patterns. The first hypothesis was that possible selves derived from an Epiphany would be considered more important than those derived from other origins. This hypothesis was not supported. The second hypothesis was that hoped-for possible selves were more likely to be derived from an Epiphany experience than feared selves. This hypothesis was supported. The second hypothesis also stated that possible selves derived from an Epiphany were more likely to be balanced than selves derived from other origins and this was supported for feared selves only. Finally, the third hypothesis stated that there would be self-regulatory differences between selves derived from Epiphanies compared to other origins but this was not supported. Taken together these findings show that the origins of possible selves are important and especially those derived from epiphany. The role of an Epiphany on the formation and implementation of possible selves paves the way for important prevention programs aimed at promoting healthy development and promoting an individual’s well being.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Barreto, Michelle L, "Examining the effects of epiphanies on possible selves" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3393510.