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Discuss research relating to the dissolution of relationships

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Discuss research relating to the dissolution of relationships There are many pieces of research relating to the dissolution of relationships: a few of which are the model of dissolution researched by Duck and the social exchange theory researched by Thibaut and Kelly. Duck believed that relationship breakdown followed a pattern which consisted of four phases. The intrapsychic phase is when the person is thinking about the relationship. People reflect on the deficiencies of their relationship, perhaps in terms of costs and benefits. There will be very little outward show of dissatisfaction, there could be a determination to 'put things right'. This stage may also include indirect hints to their partner about how they feel. The dyadic phase is when the couple tell each other. The person decides that the problems need to be confronted with the other person in the relationship. This usually includes an argument, with both sides unwilling to take responsibility for the problem. There will be some consideration about how a relationship can be put right; at this point the relationship can still be saved. ...read more.


Rule violations found to be the most critical included jealousy, lack of tolerance, disclosing confidences, not volunteering help when needed and publicly criticising the person. Therefore by specifying one type of relationship psychologists are failing to account fully for relationship dissolution as a whole. This suggests that explanations into the breakdown of relationships are an oversimplification. One strength of research into the breakdown of relationships is that it can lead to practical applications. The models and theories set out provide a clear set of processes that people go through during relationship breakdown. This therefore means that counsellors can help couples to identify areas where their relationship has started to go wrong and help the couple to resolve these issues. For example if the couple are in the intrapsychic phase counsellors should aim to help couples re-establish liking for each other rather than trying to correct behavioural faults. This suggests that research and explanations into the breakdown of relationships is useful as it can be used to improve the quality of people's relationships. ...read more.


The Social Exchange theory makes use of the concepts of rewards and costs when discussing the basis of the interpersonal exchange. Rewards and resources refer to the benefits exchanged in social relationships. Rewards are defined as the pleasures, satisfactions, and gratifications a person enjoys from participating in a relationship. The costs of social exchange relationships can involve punishments experienced, the energy invested in a relationship, or rewards as a result of engaging in one behaviour or course of action rather than another. Satisfaction with an exchange relationship is derived from the evaluation of the outcomes available in a relationship. Outcomes are equal to the rewards obtained from a relationship minus the costs incurred. To account for satisfaction, both the experiences of the outcomes derived from the relationship and the expectations that individuals bring to their relationships are taken into account. If there is a better alternate relationship, as established by the comparison level, than the one you are currently in, then it is most likely that the person will leave the relationship and partake in a more rewarding relationship. ...read more.

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