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Economic theories of the maintenance of R.R inc. the SET and Equity theory


Maintaining a relat. is like an economic transaction; we behave like accountants --> Each partner tries to MAXIMISE REWARDS and MINIMISE COSTS--> For a rela. to work the rewards need to outweigh the costs --> Reward inc.: sex, companionship, being cared for--> Costs inc,: time wasted, effort, financial investment

SET stresses that commitment to a rela. is dependent on the rewards

Comparison Line is a standard measure to previous and current relationships--> A new relationship should exceed the comparison line of the previous relationship--> Also used to judge whether current rela. is better than the last

SUPPORT RUSBULT: explains why some women stay in abusive relationships--> Profit may be high= financial investment, children, security --> H/W this is CONTRADICTED by the fact some ppl still stay in a rela. when there are little/no alterna. ---> shows ppl stay in rela. when costs outweigh profits

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Simpson used SET to look at how ppl in rela. deal w/potential alternatives--> P's already in rela. gave lower ratings --> H/W SET doesn't show WHY ppl leave rela. despite there bein no alterna. --> This contradicts the SET

Researchers used SET to show sex diffs. b/twn profit & loss --> Men & women use profit & loss in diff. ways: sex profitable for men but COST for women --> Research showed sexual deception is an important part SET ---> This SUPPORTS SET b/c pleasure & postive rela. outcomes=REWARDS & guilt/lack of trust=COSTS --> H/W these findings..self-report methods=DC's .. SD--> As a result these results are flawed --> Furthermore: use of students = population bias --> Students used to short-term relationships & not experienced on what rela. should be based especially when this theory focuses on MAINTENANCE of rela. --> Wider population needed

SET used to explain individ. diffs. within and b/twn individs.--> Diffs. change over time b/c alternatives change - changin the comparison line--> Therefore SET has R-WA in explaining the maintenance of rela.

SET criticised focusing too much individs. perpective & ignoring social aspects of rela.(how communicate & interpret shared events) --> Main criticism: focuses on SELFISH nature of theory..suggests go after most ATTRACTIVE partner b/c max. rewards and basic costs same

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Walster Equity Theory considers exchanges for both partners --> Individs. in rela. expect to receive rewards in proportion to what they put in--> Perceived inequity=distress & any kind of inequity will have this effect -->H/W its possible for each partner to contribute diff. amounts to the rela. & it still be equitable..b/c if one partner perceives themselves as putting in less than the other, the rela. still fair if they get less out of it (than other person). --> Alternatively, negotiation occurs to prod. fairness --> Disadv. person may request more from other partner in order to max. rewards --> If not rela. breaks down

Theory prod. in 78 --> Its era dependent & therefore historical validity --> Outdated= at the time women weren't really in work --> Therefore cant be applied to modern day rela.

SUPPORT: research found that rela. breakdown when the partner putting in less & getting high rewards feels guilty --> 54% breakdown due to inequality--> Proves each partners role needs to be equal to maintain rela.

HATFIELD: in fair relati. each partner was happy & contented --> Unequal rela. broke down due to inequity --> Shows import. of equitable roles to maintain a relati. --> Longitudinal study=attrition & drop outs.. should've been conducted in shorter time frame

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REDUCTIONISM: Equity theory simplifies human behav. into somethinh selfish & mechanistic --> Fails to consider bigger picture of why rela. are maintained --> New and more complex need to be conducted to see why rela. are maintained

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