Flashcards in The Maintenance Of Relationships Deck (20)
what are the 3 theories of maintenance of relationships?
what is the central assumption of this theory?
that all social behaviour is a series of exchanges; individuals attempt to maximise their rewards and minimise their costs,
describe profit and loss
People exchange resources with the expectation that they will earn a "profit". I.E. that rewards will exceed the costs. Rewards include-being cared for, companionship and sex. Costs include-time wasted, effort and financial investment. SE theory stresses that commitment to a relationship is dependent on the profitability of this outcome.
describe comparison level
Thibaut and Kelly proposed the idea of the comparison level. This is a standard at which all relationships are judged. The CL is a product of our experiences in other relationships along with out general views of what we expect about relationships. If we judge that the potential exceeds the CL, the relationship will be judged as worthwhile and the other person will be seen as attractive.
describe comparison level for alternatives
This is where the person weighs up a potential increase in rewards from a different partner, minus any costs associated with ending the relationship.
profit and loss
This has been used to explain why some women stay in abusive relationships. Rusbult and Martz argue that when investments (children) are high and alternatives (no money) are low, this could be considered a profit situation so women stay in the relationship.
Simpson et al. asked participants to rate members of the opposite sex on attractiveness. Those already in a relationship rated lower. This was because they are in a relationship so tend to be happy, this means they are not looking for an alternative and so see the person as less attractive. Those who rated higher were either unhappy in their relationship or single which means they see the person as more attractive because they are not an alternative.
it focuses too much on the individuals perspective and ignores the social aspect of a relationship. E.g. partners communicating. The main criticism is that is focuses on the selfish nature of the theory. Are people only motivated to maintain relationships out of selfish concerns.
cultural bias (IDA)
Moghaddam suggests that these theories only to Western relationship and so is cultural biased. And then it states it only applies to certain short-term relationships among individuals with high mobility.(students) This theory cannot be universally applied for the maintenance of relationships.
inequity and distress
This theories central assumption is that people strive to achieve fairness in their relationships and feel distressed if they perceive unfairness. People who give a great deal in a relationship and receive very little would perceive inequity and so be dissatisfied with the relationship. This is the same both ways. The greater the perceived inequity, the greater the dissatisfaction, and the greater the dissatisfaction, the greater the distress.
Ratio of inputs and outputs
An equitable relationship is one where the partner's benefits minus the costs equals their partner's benefits minus costs. If we perceive inequality in our relationship, we are motivated to restore it.
Men and Women might judge the equity of relationships differently. Steli and Weltman found that among married working couples, husbands who earned more than their wives, rated their own careers as more important. Women also rated their husband's careers as more important. However, when it was the women who earned more, neither rated their career as more important. So, it was concluded, that "wives" tendency to seek less for themselves, impeded the achievement of equality at home.
People have argued that having equity as a key determinist in a relationship is unecessary, they argue that this represents "an incomplete rendering of the way in which married people behave with respect to each other."
equitable relationships are indeed the most satisfactory ones. Stafford & Canary found marital satisfaction to be lowest in people who considered themselves to be under-benefited and highest in those who felt they were in equitable relationships. This supports equity theory, which proposes that equity in a relationships leads to satisfaction.
there are 3 sections to this model, what are they?
quality of alternatives
Satisfaction is a product of the outcomes of a relationship, the outcomes are compared to a personal standard of what constitutes acceptable outcomes. If outcomes surpass the CL, the individual will feel satisfied.
Not able to predict
A problem for equity theory is that it fails to predict whether a relationship will be maintained or will break down. DeMaris found that among 1500 US couples, the only reliable indicator of divorce was the woman’s sense of being under-benefitted. Aspects of equity were unable to predict the likelihood of a relationship failing.
quality of alternatives
if their is an attractive alternative, the original relationship may end and a new one may begin. The benefits of not being in a relationship may outweigh the benefits of actually being in the relationship and so the relationship may end that way.
Investment is "anything a person puts into a relationship that will be lost if they leave it." Examples include time or emotional energy.