juvenile incarceration, youth in correctional facilities, expected and feared selves, Spanish possible selves questionnaire


This study used the Possible Selves Questionnaire (PSQ) with 30 incarcerated youth in a long term juvenile correctional facility in Costa Rica. The PSQ is a self-administered survey that measures a person’s aspirations and fears for the future and strategies to achieve who they wish to become and avoid becoming. Results showed that while participants reported having Expected and Feared Selves, they struggled to identify concrete strategies to reach their goals. This vulnerable, incarcerated, population faces a variety of social challenges that may hinder their ability to avoid the behavior that led to their initial incarceration once they are released from correctional confinement. Limitations of using the PSQ with Costa Rican youth are also discussed.

Author Bio

Theresa A. Ochoa is an Associate Professor of special education. She is founder and Executive Director of Helping Offenders Prosper through Employment, a mentoring program for incarcerated youth.

Yanúa Ovares Fernández is a doctoral student of special education. She conducts research in juvenile correctional facilities and teaches undergraduate preservice teachers.

Ana Estrella Meza Rodríguez teaches in the counseling program at the University of Costa Rica and conducts research in juvenile correctional facilities.

Claire de Mezerville López teaches in the counseling program at the University of Costa Rica and conduct research in juvenile correctional facilities. She specializes in restorative justice.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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