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Maintenance of Relationships


A-Level Psychology (Relationships) Mind Map on Maintenance of Relationships, created by Aryana Sad on 11/10/2015.
Aryana Sad
Mind Map by Aryana Sad, updated more than 1 year ago
Aryana Sad
Created by Aryana Sad over 6 years ago

Resource summary

Maintenance of Relationships
  1. Social Exchange Theory (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959)
    1. Suggests relationships are a series of exchanges
      1. Individuals try to maximise reward & minimise cost
        1. Commitment to the relationship is dependent on the profitability of the outcome; more profitable = more likely to succeed
          1. To calculate profitability, the individual needs to develop a comparison level (CL); a standard to judge the quality of our existing relationships
            1. The comparison level is a product of our experiences in other relationships, together with general views
              1. If profitability exceeds CL, relationship judged as worthwile
                1. If profit lower than CL, individual will be dissatisfied and may choose to terminate relationship
                2. Comparison Level For Alternatives (CLA): individual weighs up a potential increase in profitability from an alternative partner, minus costs associated with ending current relationship
                  1. If expected profitability is higher, can result in individual ending current relationship and entering a new one
                    1. Support can be found by looking at how people in a relationship deal with potential alternatives
                      1. Simpson et al (1990) asked participants to rate members of the opposite sex in terms of attractiveness; participants already involved in a relationship gave lower ratings
                        1. Social Exchange Theory does not explain why some people leave relationships despite having no alternative, nor does it suggest how great the disparity in CL has to be to become unsatisfactory
                          1. Suggests that people judge prospects of alternative relationships as less profitable if they are already in a committed relationship
                  2. e.g. Rewards: social support, fun and companionship
                    1. e.g. Costs: effort, financial investment & wasted time
                      1. Notion of exchange used to explain why some women stay in abusive relationships
                        1. Rusbult & Martz (1995) argue that when investments are high (e.g. children, financial security) and alternatives are low (e.g. poverty, homelessness) this could still be considered a profitable situation and will remain in relationship
                    2. Reductionist: Ducks & Sants (1983) criticised for focusing too much on the individual's perspective and ignoring social aspects of a relationship, such as how partners communicate and interpret shared events.
                      1. Cultural Bias: The hedonistic (selfish) nature of the theory may only apply to individualist cultures.
                        1. Moghaddam (1998) suggests 'economic' theories only apply to Western relationships, and only to short-term relationships among individuals with high social mobility such as students in Western societies. However long-term relationships within less mobile populations are more likely to value security than personal profit.
                        2. Real-World Application: Individuals in unsuccessful marriages frequently report a lack of positive behaviour exchanges with partner, and excess of negative exchanges.
                          1. Gottman & Levenson (1992) found that in successful marriages, ratio of positive to negative exchanges around was 5:1, in unsuccessful marriages the ratio was around 1:1 or less.
                            1. Primary goal of relationship therapy may be to increase proportion of positive exchanges within a relationship and decrease proportion of negative exchanges.
                              1. Integrated Behavioural Couple Therapy (IBCT) (Jacobson et al, 2000) helps partners to break negative patterns of behaviour that cause problems thus making eachother happier.
                                1. Christensen et al (2004) treated over 60 couples using ICBT; found that around two-thirds reported significant improvements in the quality of their relationships as a result.
                        3. Equity Theory
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