The Social Exchange Theory
- Relationships as Exchange of Commodities
- Motivated to Maximise rewards & Minimise costs (rewards= companionship, sex... costs= effort, financial costs)
- Rewards minus costs should = Profit
- Comparison level (CL)- a standard our r.ships judged. A product of past experiences, familiy relationships, media.
- If potential profit exceeds CL, r.ship judged worthwhile. If profit less than CL then dissatisfied.
- Comparison level for alternatives- person weighs up potential increase of rewards in alt. partner vs. costs with ending current r.ship. New relationship takes place if profit exceeds costs.
- RUSBULT> Investments (loss of home, children, mutual friends)
- Predicts maintenance when - Both partners satisifed with rewards - No valuable alt. - Costs of leaving high
- RUSBULT- interviewed women from refuge. Women with heavy investments (child) went back to abusive partner (also suffered less serious abuse). This shows long-term relationships do not simply depend on rewards and costs, but investments too.
- It can explain individual differences well within and between cultures. Different perceptions of rewards/costs. Differences within individual may change over time because alt. change, affecting CL. It can explain why some people remain in unsatisfactory r.ships, and others in satisfactory leave.