Interaction between possible selves and the resilience of care-leavers in South Africa

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Although a future focus is recognized as a contributing factor to resilience, the content of future focus is seldom explored. Care-leavers in South Africa exit the statutory system and enter into adulthood largely unsupported. Their futures are hampered by limited preparation for leaving care, the absence of follow-up services and contextual factors such as high unemployment rates. Having a well-developed future focus may contribute to better outcomes for care-leavers. Drawing on data from a small qualitative study carried out in four child and youth care centres in a town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, this article argues that possible selves methods provide a useful tool with which to unpack the content of future focus, and in doing so identify contributors to resilience. Study findings reveal a reciprocal interaction between possible selves and resilience: resilience enablers help to generate compelling possible selves, while possible selves lead to activities that promote resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Care-leavers
  • Child and Youth Care
  • Possible selves
  • Resilience
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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