Social Role Theory


Social Role Theory is a sociological and psychological theory that suggests that individual behavior, thoughts, and feelings are influenced by the social roles they occupy within their society.

Key Concepts:

  • Social Roles: Social roles are the positions or functions individuals adopt within their social group, community, or organization.
  • Gender Roles: Gender roles are the set of societal norms and expectations associated with behaviors, attitudes, and activities that are typically expected of males and females.
  • Occupational Roles: Occupational roles refer to the roles individuals take on within their workplace or profession, which are often influenced by societal expectations and norms.
  • Role Expectations: Role expectations are the behaviors, attitudes, and performance standards associated with a particular social role, which individuals are expected to fulfill.
  • Role Conflict: Role conflict occurs when an individual’s obligations, expectations, or demands from different roles they occupy are incompatible or contradictory.
  • Role Strain: Role strain refers to the stress or tension experienced by individuals when they face competing or conflicting demands within a single role.


Social Role Theory has numerous applications in various fields, including sociology, psychology, organizational behavior, and gender studies. It helps explain differences in behavior, attitudes, and aspirations between individuals occupying different social roles or facing role conflicts. The theory also aids in understanding the influence of social expectations on individual identity, self-esteem, and decision-making processes.