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Outline 2 theories, which relate to the breakdown of relationships. Evaluate the 2 theories you have outlined.

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Outline 2 theories, which relate to the breakdown of relationships. Evaluate the 2 theories you have outlined. The social exchange theory and the equity theory can give plausible explanations for the breakdown of relationships. The social exchange theory suggests that our relationships are based on minimising costs and maximising rewards therefore it can be said that relationships breakdown because of the need to maximise costs and gaining minimum rewards. However it is not as simple as that. Levinger (1976) felt that the likelihood of a marriage surviving depends on three major features. The first factor depends on the attraction of the relationship being either emotional security or sexual fulfilment while the second factor emphasises the point of barriers to leaving the marriage such as financial pressures. The final factor depends on the presence of attractive alternatives. ...read more.


Hatfield interviewed over five hundred students about equity in their relationships. His findings showed that the inequitable relationships were more likely to have ended after three months. Therefore relationships may end due to the fact that the marriage does not have a sense of equality, either partner may strive to restore balance but a breakdown of the relationship will occur if not. These theories may explain the breakdown of relationships but they do not really show the processes that cause successful marriages to become unsuccessful. Lee's stage model shows how relationships breakdown. He felt that the break up of a relationship is a process over a period of time and that there are five stages to it: The dissatisfaction, Exposure, negotiation, resolution attempt and termination phases. Explain further These stages explain how the stages contribute towards the break up of a relationship that, neither the exchange or equity theory does. ...read more.


Buunk and van Yperen found that individuals low in exchange orientation do not bother about the equity of the relationship, which shows that equity on its own may not result to the breakdown of a relationship. The equity theory may also not be a norm for al cultures therefore it is in a sense very ethnocentric and cannot be applied to the variations of cultures. Furthermore the exchange theory cannot be applied to all cultures as well. Why? Because research suggests that non-western cultures have more communal relationships therefore they do not believe in exchange of rewards in a relationship. Thus it is as expected that the exchange theory of the breakdown of relationships cannot be applied to all cultures. Overall these theories do give insights into the breakdown of relationships in an individualist society but not in a collectivist society therefore the theories are not universal. ...read more.

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