Theories of romantic relationships: Equity theory

  • Theories of romantic relationships: Equity theory
  • AO1:
  • The role of equity:
  • Social exchange theory suggests tyhat partners seek equality or balance between costs and benefits. In contrast Walster at et propose that equity is more important where both partners' level of profit should be roughly the same. 
  • The underbenefitted partner is likely to be the least satisfied and their feelings may be evident in anger and resentment. the overbenefitted partner may feel less dissatisfied but is still likely to feel discomfort and shame. it's not the size or amouhnt of the rewards and costs that matters - its the ratio of the two to eachother. For example, if one partner puts a lot into the relationship but at the same time gets a lot out of it, then that will seem fair enough. 
  • Consequences of inequity:
  • The greater the percieved inequity, the greater the dissatisfaction: equity theory predicts a strong positive correlation between the two. This applies to both the overbenefitted and underbenefitted partner. 
  • At the start of a relationship it may feel perfectly natural to contribute more than you recieve. If that situation carries on as the relationship develops and one person continues to put more into the relationship and get less out of it, then satisfaction with the relationship may fail. Therefore changes in equity occur during a relationship. 
  • The underbenefitted partner will work hard to make the relationship more equitable if they believe it is possible to do so and that the relationship is salvagable. The greater the inequity the more


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