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Outline and Evaluate the theory of maintenance of relationships
(24 marks)

Social Exchange Theory (SET) claims that in relationships partners have expectations
to earn a reward i.e. Rewards are things that exceed the costs incurred. Rewards are
things like company, security and sex whilst costs are things that result in…

Page 2

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over-benefited is positive in a relationship whereas this research provides sufficient
evidence that that is not always the case.

SET is obviously reductionist. It doesn't explain why some people care for their
partners who are terminally ill or why some individuals leave a relationship when
there are no alternatives involved.…

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theory and SET. We aren't machines and can make decisions to act in ways counter
to our own rewards.

In conclusion, both SET and Equity Theory may not be explain how real life
relationships work due to cultural and gender differences therefore questioning the
applicability of these studies. However, SET…


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