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A2 Psychology - Relationships lesson 5

Equity Theory

Amanda Lane

on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of A2 Psychology - Relationships lesson 5

Obstacle 1
Obstacle 2
Obstacle 3
Equity theory assumes that people in romantic relationships strive for fairness. It is the inequity within a relationship that causes distress.
People try to maximise rewards and minimise negative experiences within a relationship.

Distribution of rewards is negotiated to ensure fairness through favours and privileges.

The rate of dissatisfaction is equal to the degree of unfairness.

As long as the 'loser' in the relationship is motivated to save the relationship equity will be re-established
Evaluation of Equity theory
Prins et al (1993) interviewed male and female married partners and found that females are more likely to report having an affair than males as a result of perceived in equity in a relationship.
A2 Psychology

Equity Theory
Walster et al (1978)

This differs to social exchange theory insomuch that people are striving for maximum rewards and minimal costs.
People who contribute to a relationship but get little in return would perceive the relationship to be inequitable resulting in dissatisfaction for both parties.
Walster et al suggested 4 principles to the equity theory
Lacks ecological validity insomuch that it assumes that people are only happy if the relationship is fair.
It is important to note that equity is not equality... equity refers to balance and stability and can be defined differently by different people
Can you highlight any real life examples?
Clark and Mills (1979) identified that there are 2 types of couples: 'communal' and 'exchange'. They identified that only the exchange couple are fixated on equity whereas the communal couple will be more relaxed on how this is achieved.
Men and women view relationships differently: Men are more likely to focus on EQUITY where as women are more likely to focus on EQUALITY. Women are more likely to consider having an affair if the relationship is deemed inequitable.
1) Suggest one other possible explanation for this.

2) Note down as many ethical issues that might arise in a study of this nature.

3) What conclusions can be drawn from this experiment? How does this impact on the validity of equity theory as an explanation of the maintenance of romantic relationships.
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