maintenance of relationships

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  • Created by: lucywaite
  • Created on: 13-05-16 18:49
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  • maintenance of relationships.
    • - social exchange theory.           -equity theory.
    • Social exchange theory- Thibaut and Kelly- relationships in terms of maximising the benefits and minimising the costs of the relationship such as, friendship, sex and time given up.
      • also described as 'mutual exchange of rewards between partners.'
        • idea of multiple rewards is reductionist- claims relationships are maintained due to maximising benefits and minimising costs.
          • but ignores cases such as domestic violence- where relationship is maintained but the costs outweigh the benefits.
            • There is a level called the comparison level for alternative relationships.where rewards and costs are compared to the reward and costs of a possible alternative relationship.
              • Part of the social exchange theory called the stage theory helps you maintain a relationship. The four stages go through a set order of sampling,  rewards and costs sampled in another relationship. Bargaining- where a relationship is maintained by predictable reward and then    institutionalisation, where the couple settle down.
                • the idea of the stage theory is highly business like and ignores freewill of individuals - assumes  only maintain relationships for  benefits, rather than love.
                  • Deterministic-not every relationship go through stages/ or in order, e.g. arranged marriages.
                    • some studies support S.E.T - Rustbult - longitudinal study 7 months- into costs& rewards. Found s.e.t did not explain early 'honey moon period' - but later costs r compared to degree of personal satisfaction- show s.e.t applies to maintenance of relationship.
                      • Questionnaire- social désirable answers- & is subjective to what actually are rewards and costs cos could be susceptible to perception.
                        • doesn't take costs and benefits - can't be used in the formation of relationship- making it invalid.
                        • s.e.t- modified into equity theory- focuses more on balance and stability rather than economic needs.
                          • idea of the s.e.t can't be generalised into real life- research used to prove s.e.t is done on short term relationships than long term, can't be generalised to long term couples or domestic violence victims.
                            • according to s.e.t- people keep 'scores' of like 'you got me this, so i'll get you that' and not every relationship will fall into this category- e.g. collectivist cultures- encourage arranged marriages- don't have periods of long engagements or dates to keep 'scores'
                          • 2nd theory attempts to explain maintenance - Equity Theory
                            • states- people are motivated to achieve 'fairness' within relationship to get rid of inequality, e.g. breakup- where costs outweighed rewards- isn't case with domestic violence.
                              • Waister et al- came up with 4 principles. Profit; rewards are maximised, costs minimised. Distribution; trade off to reach negationaltion of fairness. Dissatisfaction; greater the perceived unfairness- greater dissatisfaction. Realignment; being able to restore equity.
                                • Research that supports- Yum et al- cultural factors had no effect- so equity theory can be generalised to other cultures- making theory valid.
                                  • However-theory  may be applied better to female- Maching found women do more work to keep relationship equitable- suggesting gender biased
                                    • Mills and Clark- concluded, difficult to measure equity in relationships- emotions can't be generalised due to individual differences.
                                      • may also be culture biased- reflection of US culture in which prefer equity- european students- prefer equality
                                        • Overall- Equity theory -be used to explain maintenance of relationships- can be criticised aswell. Many reasons found that most work to make a relationship equitable
                                          • Hence- gender biased- as can only be applied to female gender
                                            • Sprecher- close relationships are too complex in order to establish equity- making theory reductionist- as claims we just go through a process- similar to a business.
                                              • Also- due to theory containing emotions it is difficult to measure and quantify- isn't really usable or  operationalised.
                                                • Conclude- 2 theories do explain maintenance in a way- can also be criticised due to lack of relationship explanation.
                                                  • Firstly- both try to explain relationships terms of business process- ignores emotions and that they can't be treated through idea of profit and loss- and people just going into relationships for rewards.
                                                    • Also deterministic- both the s.e.t and equity claim we go 'step by step' through stages- when intact most won't-an e.g. arranged marriages- meaning can't be generalised to all cultures,
                            • Equity in relationships - can differ e.g. taking turns with house hold jobs. every couple go through balance/ imbalance , greater imbalance more effort needed to balance relationship again,
        • Has to be comparison level where rewards are compared to costs to see how much will be benefited from the relationship.
        • also deterministic - predicts we make relationships due to just rewards but this ignores free will- giving up freedom can be chosen and can be seen as a reward- goes against thibaut and kelps theory.


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