ESSAY - PSYA3 - Outline + Evaluate Theories of MAINTENANCE of relationships

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  • Created on: 09-06-13 01:14

MORE ESSAYS HERE at the bottom of the page. Awesome website Outline and evaluate two theories into the maintenance of relationships The social exchange theory was proposed to delineate the effect of costs and rewards upon a  relationship, with the goal of the relationship being stated as to maximise rewards and minimise costs where the best possible outcome for a relationship is sought. There is a cultural bias in the theory with the adaptation of individualist principles. This is especially so regarding the inherent economic considerations, with each member of the couple striving for what is most rewarding for themselves, with differences that could occur in collectivist cultures being ignored. 
 Thibaut and Kelley outlined four stages in the development of long-term relationships based on the model, where in sampling firstly a variety of relationships are evaluated until they select one, where bargaining occurs with them identifying source of profit and loss within one relationship. Commitment eventually comes about where the exchange of rewards becomes predictable, with finally institutionalisation where interactions have been fully established. Underlying the four stages individuals have comparison levels where the consider previous and other peoples relationships against their own as well as comparison level for alternatives where they compare their relationship with other possibilities. This is a reductionist perspective to take regarding relationships, where they are reduced down to the trading of what individuals within a relationship have to offer to each other in terms of needs and wants, additionally so where the stages of a relationship are broken down. In this way it ignores many influences such as how society e.g. the media can affect what individuals perceive a relationship should be like and how emotions can influence people staying in relationships.
Extending on social exchange theory Walster developed equity theory of which there are four key principles, where firstly individuals maximise rewards and minimise negative experiences, then negotiate distribution of rewards. Inequitable relationships produce dissatisfaction, though if the person losing out thinks there is an opportunity to restore fairness they may try to re-establish equity where the larger the feeling of inequity the more effort it is to realign. Research supporting equity theory…


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