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Describe and evaluate explanationsof maintenance in relationships.

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Describe and evaluate explanations of maintenance in relationships. According to Levinger's stage theory of maintenance (1980), over time a relationship becomes more intimate. The five stages in his model are: 1) Acquaintance - a relationship starts with mutual attraction. 2) Build-up - couple may become increasingly interdependent. Perhaps based on rewards and costs. 3) Continuation - relationship becomes consolidated. 4) Deterioration - not all relationships reach this stage. For those that do there may be an imbalance of rewards and costs. 5) Ending - deterioration may lead to a break up or end of the relationship. This theory shows that all types or relationships have a tendency to break down over time. ...read more.


Therefore self-disclosure (revealing personal and sensitive information about oneself to another) is of extremely high importance in developing and maintaining intimacy. Evidence suggests that women self-disclose more to women than men. (Dindia & Allen 1992) Commitment can be explained by the investment model proposed by Rusbult (1980) it identifies 3 key factors: 1) Satisfaction - rewards provided by the relationship. 2) Perceived quality of alternatives: individuals will be more committed if there are no other attractive options. 3) Investment size - the more time/money/effort etc invested in the relationship, the greater the commitment. This theory has been challenged by Lund (1985) who found that level of commitment depended more on investment size than satisfaction or rewards. ...read more.


According to Rusbult et al (1986) there are four different strategies that people use to deal with conflicts: voice, loyalty, neglect, exit. Argyle (1988) argued that informal relationship rules are important for maintenance - "behaviour which it is believed ought or ought not to be performed in each relationship". There appear to be six key friendship rules which are: trust the other person; show emotional support; share news of success; strive to make the friend happy; offer help in time of need; and stand up for a friend in his or her absence. Finally, a cognitive factor proposed by Duck and Pond (1989) claimed that the key factor about routines is the way that partners talk to one another in and about their interactions. ?? ?? ?? ?? Zainab Rahman ...read more.

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