Possible selves, psychological well‐being, and substance use in young men within 12 months post‐incarceration [2020]

Community reentry post‐incarceration is fraught with challenges. The investigators examined the influence of highly personalized goals (possible selves) on psychological well‐being, drug use, and hazardous drinking in recently incarcerated young men returning to the community.

Design and Sample
In this cross‐sectional study, 52 young men released from jail or prison within the past 12 months were recruited from community‐based organizations and reentry events.

Participants completed open‐ended possible selves measure and psychological well‐being and substance use questionnaires.

Possible selves accounted for 19%–31% of the variance in sense of purpose, environmental mastery, and personal growth. Having a feared delinquent possible self was associated with lower sense of purpose. Having many feared possible selves was associated with lower environmental mastery. Having an expected possible self related to interpersonal relationships was associated with higher personal growth and environmental mastery. Men having a feared delinquent possible self or an expected possible self related to material/lifestyle were more likely to use marijuana than men who did not.

The content and number of possible selves may be an important focus for assessment by public health nurses in correctional and community settings serving young men post‐incarceration. Longitudinal studies with larger samples are needed.

Amy Johnson PhD, RN Colleen Corte PhD, RN, FAAN Gabriel Culbert PhD, RN Lorna Finnegan PhD, RN, FAAN Elizabeth Tarlov PhD, RN Jon Maskaly PhD Brigid Lusk PhD, RN, FAAN
Public Health Nursing, Volume 37, Issue 4, July/August 2020