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Role Transitions

Role Transitions

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology


Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


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A role can be defined as one’s position in a relationship or social structure, whereas a role identity consists of the behavioral expectations that are included in that role. While some individuals may view their roles through a fixed set of social standards, others rely on their own subjective perceptions and interpretations of these positions through flexible guidelines. Through the process of a role transition, the literature identifies two types defined as a macro role transition or micro role transition. A macro role transition consists of a psychological or physical change between consecutively held roles. Examples can include career transitions, marriage/divorce, parenthood, immigration, or retirement. A micro role transition is also considered a psychological or physical change, yet between simultaneously held roles. For instance, shifts may occur between one’s home and work roles, roles between parent and spouse, or movement between or within social domains (e.g. school, religious groups, social organizations).


behavioral expectations, home and work roles, identity, macro role transition or micro role transition, relationship, role transitions, social domains, social structure

Publication Date





This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.

Role Transitions