The maintenance of romantic relationships

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Social exchange theory
Claims that in relationships partners expect to earn a profit. The rewards gained are greater than costs incurred. Commitment to a relationship depends of the profitability
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Profit and loss
Individuals attempt to maximise rewards and minimise costs. People exchange resources with expectation that they will earn a profit. Benefits include being cared for + sex. Costs include effort + time wasted
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Comparison level
Way of judging quality of relationship against some standard. If the profitability exceeds the comparision level then it is judged as worthwhile
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Comparision level for alternatives
The individual may end the current relationship if profitability of a new one is higher than the current one
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Evaluation - Profit and Loss - Abusive Relationships - Martz
Says that if investments are high (children and financial security) and alternatives are low (nowhere to live and no money) then a perosn may stay in an abusive relationship as more profitable than leaving
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Evaluation - Comparision Level - Simpson et al
People already in a relationship give lower ratings of attractiveness of members of the opposite sex than those not. Suggests that alternative relationships are judged as less profitable to those already committed
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Evaluation - Gender Differences - Steil and Weltman
Among couples both rated husbands career as more important - not reversed when woman earned more. The tendency for women to seek less for themselves in a relationship makes equity harder to judge
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IDA - Cultural Bias - Moghaddam
It has been argued that the theory only applies to Western relationships and short-term relationships so is not a universal explanation of relationships
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IDA - Real World Application
Individuals in unsuccessful marriages fequently report a lack of positive behaviour exchanges with their partner and an excess of negative exchanges
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Evaluation
-Focuses too much on the individuals perspective and ignores the social aspects of a relationship -Selfish nature of the theory
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Equity theory - Walster et al - Inequity and distress
People strive to achieve fairness in their relationship and feel distressed if they perceive fairness. Any kind of inequity has the potential to create distress
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Equity theory - Ratio of inputs and outputs
Equity does not necessarily mean equality. What is
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Card 2

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Profit and loss

Back

Individuals attempt to maximise rewards and minimise costs. People exchange resources with expectation that they will earn a profit. Benefits include being cared for + sex. Costs include effort + time wasted

Card 3

Front

Comparison level

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Comparision level for alternatives

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Evaluation - Profit and Loss - Abusive Relationships - Martz

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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