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Multiple social roles and well-being: a longitudinal test of the role stress theory and the role expansion theory
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2867-8537
2004 (English)In: Acta Sociologica, ISSN 0001-6993, Vol. 47, no 2, 115-126 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In general, Western societies believe that people should engage in a multitude of social activities and develop multiple social roles. The assumption is that having multiple roles is beneficial to the individual. However, it also means that life is more complex and that people have to handle sometimes conflicting demands. Earlier research on the effects of multiple roles on individual well-being has not provided a clear picture, some results supporting the role stress theory and some the role expansion theory. This article tests empirically the relevance of the role stress theory and the role expansion theory by analysing whether having multiple social roles in general decreases or increases individual well-being. The results are based on a panel study of nearly 9000 randomly selected Swedes. The conclusion is that both number of social roles and any increase in social roles are negatively correlated with the risk of suffering from insomnia and a lingering illness, and the risk of being on regular medication for a lingering illness. These findings indicate that having multiple social roles increases individual well-being; the results therefore support the role expansion theory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 47, no 2, 115-126 p.
Keyword [en]
Longitudinal, multiple social roles, role stress, role expansion
National Category
Sociology Nursing Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-1233Local ID: 4414OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-1233DiVA: diva2:26265
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2008-09-30 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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