Assignment: Social Exchange Theory Essay

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Assignment: Social Exchange Theory Essay

Assignment: Social Exchange Theory Essay

 

The social exchange theory, to begin with, argues that an individual will decide to either end or prolong a relationship after having rationally calculated the costs and benefits associated with either of the decisions. The theory, as Burgess and Huston (2013) 0bserve, relies on an individual’s comparison level, which compares past experiences with the profits drawn from the current relationship to make a decision. In the event that these fall short of meeting the comparison level, the individual will explore the extent to which alternatives to the current partner may be rewarding in the short- or long-term.

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The equity theory, on the other hand, relies on fair treatment and an individual’s perception of the concept of fairness. As such, in an intimate relationship, an individual may choose to end or prolong the relationship based on whether he/she perceives the output of

Assignment Social Exchange Theory Essay

Assignment Social Exchange Theory Essay

his/her time and effort as unbalanced or commensurate. The penetration theory, proposed by Altman and Taylor in 1973, examines relationships based on the level of interpersonal communication, which tend to move from shallow, non-intimate exchanges to deeper and more personal discussions as the relationship progresses. As noted by Erber R. and Erber M. (2017), self-disclosure tends to be limited at the onset, with discussions covering more superficial topics, at the onset, and develops to more intimate ones with time. However, failure to register this progress portends likely termination of the relationship.

Attachment style does have profound effects on the level of intimacy shared in relationships and friendships. Primarily, it influences the extent and manner in which individuals react their needs, and the initiatives they take to pursue the needs. For instance, a secure attachment pattern makes one confident and self-possessed, hence easily able to interact with others. Contrarily, anxious or avoidance attachment may compel an individual to select a partner perceived to fit in the said maladaptive pattern, who is highly unlikely to be the ideal one.

Using the social exchange theory, equity theory and penetration theory, describe how relationships are maintained or ended. What role does attachment style play in the level of intimacy shared in friendships or intimate relationships?

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