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ERIC Number: ED536353
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 218
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-4365-8
Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity of Resident Assistants when Confronted with Alcohol Consumption of Undergraduate Students
Horvath, Mary Beth
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Widener University
Resident assistants serve a vital function within the residence hall; however, the challenges they confront are different from those of other students. For example, resident assistants may deal with over-consumption or illegal consumption of alcohol on campus. Addressing this issue may cause resident assistants to experience role conflict and role ambiguity. Role conflict occurs when expectations or demands of dual roles are in conflict with each other. Role ambiguity occurs when expectations of the role are not clear. This phenomenological qualitative study, which consisted of informal retrospective interviews with 10 former resident assistants at a liberal arts women's college, sought to better understand how resident assistants experienced role conflict and role ambiguity. The phenomenological inquiry methodology used in this study revealed themes of problems experienced by resident assistants, including difficulty in (a) achieving balance among student/friend/resident assistant roles; (b) understanding the correct response to alcohol consumption on campus; and (c) understanding the position scope. Participants experienced role conflict in three distinct areas: (a) the student versus resident assistant role, (b) the friend versus resident assistant role, and (c) the individual versus role model role. Study participants struggled with and were challenged by juggling these multiple roles. Participants demonstrated role ambiguity in the areas of responsibility, process, and behavior. That is, participants often had questions regarding what responsibility the resident assistant held in situations involving consumption of alcohol by peers within the residence hall; what the processes were for addressing and dealing with alcohol emergencies and other alcohol related issues; and what was considered appropriate behavior of the resident assistant in terms of personal alcohol consumption. Professional staff should proactively attempt to resolve resident assistants' role conflict and role ambiguity by encouraging ongoing communication and providing continuing education throughout the academic year. Investing effort to reevaluate and revise training programs each year to keep resident assistants abreast of current trends and providing a detailed explanation of the resident assistant position, including a rationale for all institutional policies, will help to create a more effective resident assistant program and lessen the stress and potential danger role conflict and role ambiguity present. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A