Explain the difference between role conflict and role strain a result of being "within" and "between."

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dftbap eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All of us have many roles we play or participate in during our daily lives. One may simultaneously be a participant in various roles. For example one may be a primary parent caregiver, primary economic breadwinner, and Sunday School teacher, among others.

Role strain occurs when the demands within a role are too great for the individual to be effective or competent in any certain role. An example would be an individual who is the primary breadwinner, however, this individual is not able to procure enough hours in their job to make enough money to provide for the family.

Role conflict occurs when there are opposing or conflictual areas between roles.  For example, if one is the primary breadwinner in the family and the means by which this money is made is in opposition to another of the individual's roles (Sunday school teacher), this can create role conflict. Example: stealing.