A role refers to the normative expectations associated with a position in a social system. Role transitions refer to the psychological and, if relevant, physical movements between positions within or between social systems, including disengagement from one role (role exit) and engagement in another role (role entry). This process includes macro role transitions between sequential roles, such as a high school student's becoming a university student, and micro role transitions between simultaneous roles, such as a woman's shifting subtly between her roles of wife and mother at the dinner table.

Although most research focuses on either role exit or role entry, the nature of each can strongly influence the other. For example, an involuntary layoff can impair one's acceptance of the role of retiree, and a ...

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