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Equity Theory
Proposed by Walster et al (1978)
The equity theory is based on the idea that
individuals strive to achieve fairness (equity)
in relationships and become distressed if
they perceive unfairness (inequity). The
greater the perceived inequity, the greater
the distress and the greater the
dissatisfaction with the relationship. To
maintain a successful relationship therefore,
it must be equitable to both partners.…read more

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Equity does not necessarily mean equality; it is possible for
each partner to give and receive different amounts and still be
equitable. What matters is whether each partner's perceived
profit is equal.
If we feel there is inequity, we are motivated to restore it in a
number of different ways. We could change the amount we put
into or demand from the relationship, or we could change our
perceptions of relative inputs and outputs in order to restore
the appearance of equity. We may also compare the
relationship to our comparison level for alternative
relationships to see whether it is worth continuing it or
whether we should end it and begin a new one.…read more

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Partner one = Partner two
Benefit ­ Loss = Benefit ­ Loss
10 ­ 2 = 10 ­ 11
8 = -1
Partner one = Partner two
Benefit ­ Loss = Benefit ­ Loss
10 ­ 2 = 11 ­ 3
Equitable…read more

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Exchange and communal
· Clark and mills (1979) disagreed with
the claim that relationships were based
on economics.
· They distinguished between exchange
relationships (between colleagues or
other associates)and communal
relationships (between friends or
· Exchange relationships may involve
keeping track of rewards or costs
· Communal relationships are governed
more by the desire to respond to the
other persons needs, there is still a
concern for equity but partners believe
it will balance in the long run…read more

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Relationship inequity in
marital disruption
· Demaris (2007) investigated if marital
inequity is associated with later marital
· He used 1500 couples as part of the US
national survey of families and households
· He found that the only subjective index of
inequity associated with disruption is
women's sense of being under benefited,
with greater under benefit raising the risk
of divorce.
· This shows that inequity may not
necessarily lead to relationship breakdown
and that there are many other factors
involved…read more

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