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Role strain and role conflict

Role strain and role conflict are two concepts that can have a significant impact on someone's life. Role strain refers to the stress caused by the demands of a single role, while role conflict occurs when the demands of multiple roles clash. Both can lead to stress and anxiety, and it is important to understand how they might arise. (. Created by James Howick.

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Video transcript

- (Voiceover) Most people have faced times in their lives when they simply cannot carry out all the obligations of the status. And the tension between roles in one status, is called role strain. Role strain causes an individual to be pulled in many directions by the many responsibilities of one single status. So, an example would be a student. Let's say this student has to write two papers, finish five reading assignments, for separate classes, give a speech, study for a midterm exam, and do two lab reports in one week. So they're being pulled in many different ways by this one status; the status of being a student. On the other hand, there's what's called role conflict. This is talking about the conflict between the roles of two, or more, social statuses. So I want to be clear when I say between statuses, this is not an individual status, like before. So, let's take a look at this guy, right here, and look at a few different scenarios to understand role conflict. So this man has many different statuses. He's a student, he's a husband, he's a friend, he's a worker, and he's also a parent. These different statuses can compete for his time. So, let's say he gets a call from one of his buddies and they're very excited for their monthly get together. They usually go golfing once a month. He just gets a reminder on his phone that says hey, tomorrow is your anniversary. So, his status as a husband, should be more important than his status as a friend, if he's smart in this case. So, let's take a look at another scenario, here. Let's say a week later, that he has a paper to do for school, but he finds out that his son was injured and he may need to go to the hospital. So, in this case, his status as a parent my take precedence over his status as a student, cause he's concerned for his child's health. So in a final example, let's say that he had a big meeting Monday, but his wife wanted him to clean the garage. So, in this instance, his status as a husband and as a worker come into conflict. If his job depends on his performance in the meeting, he will probably choose to focus more energy on his job and his presentation, then in this case on being a husband and cleaning out the garage. So role strain is tension between the roles of one single status, like student, and role conflict involves the conflict between roles of two or more statuses.