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Social exchange theory. - profit and loss.

Profit and loss is the centre of this theory and it is when people want to maximise their rewards but minimise the costs.
Within our society, people exchange their resources with the expectation of a profit.
Profits can be things such as companionship and loss can be money for example.
For a relationship to succeed and maintain the relationship the benefits must outweigh the costs.


Social exchange theory - comparison level.

This was developed by Thibault and Kelly and it is where all our relationships are judged; it is a product of our past experiences.
If we are in a relationship but we meet someone else who exceeds the comparison level, we may develop the new relationship as it is deemed more worthwhile.
But, if the final result is negative then we will be dissatisfied with the relationship and we will find the person less attractive.
A comparison level for alternatives was also developed and this is where someone used the CL to weigh up the potential alternatives for awards.
This can cause a new relationship to take place if the profit is higher.


Evaluation - Rusbult and Martz, abusive relationships.

They said that the theory provided an explanation to why women stay in abusive relationships.
They found that when the alternatives are low (e.g. money) but the investments are high (e.g. children) women are more inclined to stay in the relationship as the alternative is lower than staying.
The profit it higher than the alternatives.


Evaluation - Simpson et al + how people deal with alternatives.

He asked participants to rate members of the opposite sex in terms of attractiveness.
He found that those already in a relationship gave members of the opposite sex lower ratings.
This gives support to the social exchange theory and provides an explanation to how people deal with alternatives when they are already in a relationship.
One way to do it is to reduce the alternative so they can maintain their current relationship.


Equity theory - achieve fairness, etc.

This looks at how people strive to achieve fairness in a relationship.
Relationships need to have equity to remain maintained, any kind of inequity can cause distress.
An example of inequity is when people can give a lot in a relationship but receive little in return!
The greater the inequity, the greater the dissatisfaction.
Therefore, the greater the dissatisfaction the greater the distress.


Ratio of inputs and inputs.

Equity does not mean equality; it is possible for partners to give and receive very different amounts and the relationship can still be equitable.
To be fair in a relationship, you need to look at the inputs and outputs.
It is largely subjective for each partner and according to this theory it should be the partners benefits - costs = partners benefits less their costs.
If we perceive inequity we are motivated to restore it.
To restore the inequity we can do a number of things to restore it such as changing the amount you put into the relationship.
You could also compare the relationship to the comparison level and see if it is worth carrying on the relationships.


Evaluation - Ragsdale and Brandu-Brown - insufficient.
Demaris - martial inequity and martial disruption.

They reject the claim the equity is the key determinant of relationship satisfaction.
They argue that it represents an incomplete rendering of the way married people behave to each other.
This makes it an insufficient theory to explain martial maintenance.
DeMaris investigated whether marital inequity is associated with martial disruption.
He used 1500 couples as a part of the national US survey and found that only the subjective index of inequity is associated with marriage disruption.
Women reported having a sense of under benefited which led to the raising risk of divorce.


Evaluation - Gender biased and Steil + Weltman.

Men and women might judge the idea of inequity differently which makes it gender biased.
Steil and Weltman found that, amongst married couples. husbands who earned more than their wives rated their careers more important that their wives.
In some cases, the wives also thought the same thing.
It was concluded that women seeked less of themselves which shows the different ideas of inequity.