First Advisor

John E. O'Brien

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Social role, Psychology Older people



Physical Description

1 online resource ( 116 p.)


The concept of role exit presented by Zena Smith Blau in her book, Old Age in a Changing Society, refers to the ongoing process of relinquishing previously enacted social roles; a process which is part of everyday life for men and women of all ages. However, Blau argues that role exits in later life are different from those in earlier stages of the life cycle because they tend to be terminal and involuntary. These factors, according to Blau, cause role exits in old age to negatively influence the individual's overall satisfaction with life.

This thesis examines the concept of role exit from three perspective: first, from a theoretical perspective as it emerges out of social role theory; second, in a substantive context as it relates to the problem of old age; and finally, from an empirical perspective as an indicator of reported life satisfaction among a sample of older adults.


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