Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Wait

Second Advisor

Dr. Dorothy Bladt

Third Advisor

Dr. James Schellenberg

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study is concerned with factors which influence the way individuals conceptualize and define their social roles. Role theory suggests that role conceptions, which are individual orientations to a role, are affected by expectations associated with the role and personality characteristics that an individual brings to the role. These suggestions are tested by examining sex and curriculum differences in conceptions of the teacher role among education students at a midwestern university. Conceptions of teacher control and nurturance are assessed by two scales developed by the author. Results indicate that factors associated with a student's curriculum influence orientations toward teacher control and that an individual's sex influences his orientation toward teacher nurturance. Results are discussed in a role theory framework and are interpreted as supporting the suggestion that role expectations and personality characteristics influence an individual’s conception of his social role.