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Relating the social exchange theory to increasing divorce rates - Essay Example

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Relating the social exchange theory to increasing divorce rates
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Relating the social exchange theory to increasing divorce rates

These figures show that this phenomenon is almost universal. While trying to understand the increasing divorce rates based on social exchange theory, the analysis has to consider as its variables, cost, benefit, outcome, comparison level, satisfaction, and dependence inside the institution of marriage (Clarke-Stewart and Brentano, 20-21). This has to be so because these are the yardsticks to measure change or stability in a system, as prescribed by the social exchange theory. The theory suggests that after marriage, “people evaluate their relationship in terms of costs and benefits” (Clarke-Stewart and Brentano, 20). And the survival of the marriage is ensured only when the costs like additional work, additional responsibilities, sharing of personal things etc. are balanced by the benefits that include “love, support, companionship, emotional security, social status and connections, and sexual relations, as well as property, financial resources and assistance with daily tasks” (Clarke-Stewart and Brentano, 20). ...
So, according to social exchange theory, if alternative attractions and resources are stronger as compared to the rewards, divorce happens. In general, social exchange theory presupposes that “all interpersonal behavior including dating, marriage and family relationships, is assumed to involve a process of negotiation and bargaining (Baker, 78). Usually from a social scientist’s common perspective, the reasons for divorce can be “delays in age at first marriage, rising non-marital cohabitation, and increases in non-marital births” and also “women’s growing education and economic independence, a decline in religious influence, an increase in individualism, and a corresponding decline in communalism (Lamb, 196). The risk factors that bring about a divorce as identified by researchers also constitute a very long list (qtd. In Lamb, 197). This list includes, factors like: Marrying a teenager, being poor, having a low level of education, having no children from the marriage, bringing children from a previous union into the marriage, being in a second or higher order marriage, cohabiting prior to marriage, having no religious affiliation, not sharing the same religion with one’s spouse, living in an urban area, and growing up in a household without two continuously married parents (Lamb, 197-198). Other findings of social science research in this regard have suggested that education has a positive association with the risk of divorce (qtd. by Lamb, 198). Many more immediate causative factors of divorce have been identified as well. These comprise of “frequent arguments, repeated expressions of negative affect, domestic ... Read More
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