Sociology Index


Role Theory, Role Playing, Reflexive Role-Taking, Role Distancing, Role Convergence

Role Strain captures the stress or tension that may arise from the performance of a role.

Role Strain and Incarcerated Mothers: Understanding the Process of Mothering
Abstract: A survey was administered to 109 mothers incarcerated at a minimum-security prison. The purpose of this study was to examine a variety of variables associated with being a mother in prison to determine whether these factors affected the maternal role strain of incarcerated women.

The findings suggest that women in prison experience high levels of role strain as a whole. However, white women, women who had served longer sentences, women who had not lived with their children prior to incarceration, and women who did not approve of their children's custody arrangements were found to have significantly higher levels of role strain. The study also indicates that women in prison will experience less role strain if they are allowed to engage in mothering activities rather than simply maintaining this prescribed status. -

Separation in relation to gender role strain in men
William Joseph DeFranc, Boston College
Attachment remains important to the one's emotional and identity development through adolescence and adulthood. Psychological separation helps to develop a sense of self that is separate and independent from one's parents. Fathers' influences on the gender role socialization of boys seems to be greater than that of mothers. Gender role strain in men has been identified as the failure to fulfill male role expectations, the traumatic fulfillment of these expectations, and their negative consequences. One posited cause of gender role strain is the early gender role socialization process that occurs often within the family context. This study attempts to consolidate previous research in parental attachment, psychological separation, and men's gender role strain. 
A sample of 231 men from a private university and a two year urban college in the Northeast participated in the study by completing the Gender Role Conflict Scale, Masculine Gender Role Stress Scale, Parental Attachment Questionnaire, Psychological Separation Inventory, and a demographics sheet. Participants also estimated their fathers' gender role strain on these measures. All five hypotheses that gender role strain is related to parental attachment and psychological separation were supported.

Partner Role Strain
What is Partner Role Strain?
Illness or stress often affects both the patient and his partner/family members. Family members may experience physical, emotional, social, and/or financial problems due to caring for a loved one. Stress that is unresolved can lead to dissatisfaction which can lead to increased role strain. 

What happens when you experience Partner Role Strain?
You may be overwhelmed by daily tasks. 
You may feel frustrated or angry due to added responsibilities 
You may experience anxiety and/or sadness about your care situation. 
You may notice fatigue or lack of energy. 
You may be dissatisfied with your ability to perform caregiving tasks, routine tasks, or your relationship with your partner. 

What causes Partner Role Strain? 
Partner role strain results when stress temporarily outweighs Your ability to cope.

How can I cope with Partner Role Strain? 
Make a list of all of your obligations, including children, outside employment, clubs or groups, and your additional caregiving tasks. 
Try to give up as many tasks or competing roles as you can, if even for a few days or weeks. 

What can family or significant others do to help with Partner Role Strain?
Tell your family or significant other exactly what you need help with and ask them for it.

How can I talk with my partner about my role strain? 
Identify what you need help with or changed. 
Calmly discuss your needs with your partner. 
Brainstorm with your partner possible solutions.