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Role Theory

Roles As Structure, Roles As Interaction, Accumulating And Changing Roles

Role theory is not one theory. Rather, it is a set of concepts and interrelated theories that are at the foundation of social science in general, and the study of the family in particular. The ideas and concepts formulated in the development of role theory continue to inform family theory and research more than half a century later. This is apparent in past and current research on the merging of family and work.

Roles are the building blocks of social institutions and social structures. Although numerous perspectives and terms have developed around the concept of role, Ivan Nye (1976) has divided the perspectives into two general approaches: structural and interactionist.

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaRelationships