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role reversal (social role reversal)

Definition of Role Reversal

(noun) A situation in which people switch roles to perform the role of a role partner.

Examples of Role Reversal

  • An elderly parent is taken care of by their child.
  • A student starts to teach classes.

Role Reversal Pronunciation

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /roʊl rəˈvərs(ə)l/
      • /roʊl riˈvərs(ə)l/
    • British English
      • /rəʊl rᵻˈvəːsl/
  • Syllabification: (role re·ver·sal)

Usage Notes

  • Plural: role reversals
  • The terms “role reversal” and “social role reversal” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • Variant spelling: role-reversal

Additional Information

Related Terms


Cite the Definition of Role Reversal

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “role reversal.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 19, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/role-reversal/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

role reversal. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/role-reversal/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “role reversal.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 19, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/role-reversal/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“role reversal.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/role-reversal/>.