Relationship Maintenance: Equity Theory

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  • Created by: Leah
  • Created on: 01-06-13 18:12

Theories of Relationships:

Equity Theory

  • Equity Theory, proposed by Waltser et al, is another economic theory. The theory focuses on the fairness of relationships, ie both partners are concerned with their profits and costs. If one partner perceives themselves to be giving more or getting less than their partner, then they are in an inequitable relationship and leads to feelings of dissatisfaction in the 'loser' and guilt in the 'winner'.
  • Equity does not mean equality. Each partner can give and receive varying amounts, it is about perception rather than actuality. 
  • If the couple are in a short-term relationship then these feelings often lead to conflict and breakdown. Those in long-term relationships or those with more investment often look to restoring equity in the relationship, which can be done in a number of ways. This can include changing perceptions, weighing up input/output and attempting to address imbalances, consulting others or comparing to other relationships etc.
  • A study by Van Yperen and Buunk looked at this theory. A longitudinal study was conducted using 259 participants; 86% were married and the rest were cohabiting. When given a scale for measuring equity, 65% felt…

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