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role strain (social role strain)

Definition of Role Strain

(noun) A situation caused by higher-than-expected demands placed on an individual performing a specific role that leads to difficulty or stress.

Example of Role Strain

  • A student is torn between the obligations of school, their parents, and a job.

Role Strain Pronunciation

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /roʊl streɪn/
    • British English
      • /rəʊl streɪn/
  • Syllabification: (role strain)

Usage Notes

  • Plural: role strains
  • The terms “role strain” and “social role strain” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • Not to be confused with role conflict, which is similar but is caused by two or more roles that are incompatible.
  • Variant spelling: role-strain
  • Also called role stress.

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Additional Information

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Works Consulted

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

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Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cite the Definition of Role Strain

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “role strain.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 19, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/role-strain/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

role strain. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/role-strain/

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

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “role strain.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 19, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/role-strain/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“role strain.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 19 Oct. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/role-strain/>.