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Outline and evaluate two theories of the maintenance of relationships.

(24 Marks)

There are two main theories of the maintenance of romantic relationships; The Social Exchange
Theory (Thibaut and Kelley, 1959) and The Equity Theory (Walster et al,. 1978).

The Social Exchange Theory looks at profit and loss. This is…

Page 2

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The distribution of rewards is negotiated to receive fairness.
If the relationship is unfair/inequitable, it produces distress, especially for the disadvantaged
person.
If the disadvantaged person feels there is chance of restoring equity, they will work at the
relationship.

The Equity Theory assumes that most people try to achieve fairness…

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