Essay on Miss

2061 Words Oct 8th, 2012 9 Pages
In this essay I aim to describe two theories (Equity Theory and Social exchange theory) of relationships and to consider how they might influence the therapist engaged in couples counseling, noting their similarities and differences.
Equity theory is a theory about fairness. Its application to close relationships has been primarily advanced by Elaine Hatfield (previously known as Elaine Walster) and her colleagues in the book Equity: Theory and Research (Walster, Walster, and Berscheid 1978). The book outlines four interlocking propositions of equity theory and discusses the application of equity theory to different types of relationships, including intimate ones. The propositions are: 1. Individuals will try to maximize their outcomes
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Equity in a relationship may be seen as its own reward. This idea is suggested by proposition 2 that attempts to account for the development of rules, or norms, that limit self-interest behavior. If individuals were to continually strive for the most resources, anarchy and violence would dominate society as each member tried to gain more. However, proposition 2 asserts that societies, groups, and couples will develop rules that foster fairness to each member in order to prevent such a condition. People who follow the rules of fairness will be rewarded, and people who do not will be punished. Thus, behaving equitably becomes a means to maximize one 's outcomes, and fairness, more so than self-interest, becomes the norm.
Proposition 3 that focus on the outcomes of inequitable relationships by asserting that individuals in inequitable relationships will become distressed. Researchers exploring the area of equitable outcomes in marital relationships often measure outcomes through reports or observations of behaviors rather than perceptions. This is because individuals ' perceptions of their relationships can become skewed through gender-based valuing of relational inputs, because an incongruence often exists between perception of one 's behavior and the actual behavior itself, and because people in low-power positions often feel entitled to less that leads them to perceive an unfair situation as fair.

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