Maintenance of Relationships

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  • Maintenance of Relationships
    • Social Exchange theory
      • Individuals attempt to maximise their rewards and minimise their costs.
      • Comparison level
        • A standard against which all our relationships are judged.
        • Product of our experiences in  other relationships and our expectations from general exchanges
        • If relationship exceeds comparison level then the relationship is worthwhile and vice versa.
      • Comparison level for alternatives
        • Weighs up a potential increase in rewards from a different partner minus the costs with leaving the current relationship
      • May explain why some women stay in abusive relationships
        • Rusbult and Martz - when investments are high and alternatives are low, it is still seen as profitable
          • This is why a woman may decide to stay in an abusive relationship
    • Equity Theory
      • Extension of social exchange theory
      • People strive to achieve fairness in the relationship
      • People who give a great deal into the relationship but receive little out of it would perceive inequity
      • Equity does not mean equality
        • Partners can receive and give different amounts and the relationship can still be equitable
      • Equitable relationship should be one where partner's benefits minus their costs equals their partners benefits less theirs costs.
      • The equity theory is an is an insufficient theory
        • Ragsdale and Brandau-Brown reject the claim that equity is a a key determinant of relationship satisfaction. They argue that it represents an incomplete rendering of the way that married couples behave in respect to one another.
          • This would therefore suggest that the equity theory is an insufficient theory to explaining marital maintenance.


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