Maintenance of Relationships

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  • Created by: EClou
  • Created on: 24-02-16 20:35

AO1 - Relationship Maintenance

Social Exchange Theory: Thibaut + Kelley 1959:-

  • ppl maximise rewards + reduce costs - in modern resource exxhange a profit is assumed - rewards = companionship sex/ - Costs = effort/money+time wasted
  • satisfaction/profit found by comparison level of expected + actual rewards - i.e. currnet relat compared to past relats. - CL = standard judgement agianst which we judge all relats.
  • CL for alternatives = compae current relat to ones we could potent. be in  - if we feel we could improve we move on
  • relat. devel. stages : sampling, bargaining, commitment, institutionalisation

Equity Theory: Walster et al 1978:-

  • extnsion of SET - ppl strive equality fairness on relt. i.e. any inequity can cause distress - ppl that give more than they get + get more than they give in relats. perceive inequity - 
  • the ++ the inequity the ++ the distress
  • ratio of input + output - partners can give diff amounts + relalt still = equitable - all about perceived ratio - partner 1's benefits - costs = partner 2's benefits - costs - we want to restore any perceive inequality.
  • eq. achieved thru e.g. more effort/time/reduce demands/evaluate CL of rel. to other ppl's
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AO2 - Relationship Maintenance

Social Exchange Theory:

  • + Simpson et al 1990 - ppl in relats. gave lower ratings of the opposite sex than singles as this reduced threat to relationship
  • - doesn't explainwhy ppl leave relats. when they have no better alternative 
  • - doesn't detail disparity in CL for relat to become satifactory
  • +Rusbult + Martz 1995 -explains why some ppl stay in abusive relats. - high investments e.g. kids/money and low alternatives e.g. homeless/poor  - tf relat. still = profit situation
  • + Marelich et al 2008 - men ++ likely lie for sex / women have sex for approval/avoid confrontation - shows sex. dcptn = v imp. part of SE i.e gd sex + gd relat outcomes = reward and unwanted sex + deception = costs.

Equity Theory:

  • - Clark + MIlls - relats. X= economics - distinguished betw. exchange (E) and communal (C) relats. - E = following cost/reward (i.e. colloeagues/associates) C (eg friends/lovers)= desire to respond to needs - some need for equity but good outcome assumed 
  • - De Marris - 1500 cpls 'UD Nat Srv Fam + household' - only subjective index of ineq. assoc. w/ distress = women feel under-benefitted -> ++ divorce risk - ineq. relats can be maintained
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AO3 - Relationship Maintenance


  • Cultural bias - only explains maintenance of western individualist relats:- short-term = common + superficial concerns eg cost/profit = ++ likely to impact decisions - less time to devel. commit. - give + take become more influential
  • in alternative (collectivist) cultures relats maintained due to family pressure/religion/cultural norms/expectations - e.g. middle east- unhappy married women can't divorce 
  • Real - world app - Gottman + Levenson - indivs. in failed marriages report lack of +ve exchngs and excess -ve exchngs w/ ex (1:1 compared to 5:1 in happy marriage)

Equity Theory:-

  • cultural bias - research consist. w/ heterosexual couples - lacks pop val/general. to wider pop as ignores other kind of relats - in western cultures maintenance is a concern ad breakdown is a possibility - i.e divorce not an option in other cultures - tf partners may not evaluate in the same way if there's no get-out
  • protection form psych harm - reflecting on traumatic mems
  • socially sensitive- sometimes justufies ****/assault
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