Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Behavior Exchange Theory

  • Kathleen A. EldridgeEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_103

Name of Theory

Behavior exchange theory

Synonyms

Social Exchange Theory

Introduction

Behavior exchange theory is a set of ideas designed to explain the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of close relationships. The basic principles of behavior exchange theory are that (a) close relationships are characterized by interdependent interpersonal transactions (behavioral exchanges) between people, (b) these exchanges provide rewards and costs for each person, and (c) people weigh the ratio of rewards and costs against alternative relationships to determine whether to continue or dissolve the relationship. Based on these ideas, it follows that satisfying and stable relationships will contain behavioral exchanges marked by favorable reward-cost ratios for each member of the relationship. Although behavior exchange theory has been of interest across multiple disciplines, this entry will emphasize the aspects most pertinent to couple and family therapy.

Prominent Associated Figures

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Brian Baucom
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA