Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Cost-Benefit Ratio in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Donna BaptisteEmail author
  • David Kitchings
  • Kelsey Kristensen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_517

Name of Concept

Cost-Benefit Ratio


Benefit-Cost Ratio


The cost-benefit ratio (also referred to as the benefit-cost ratio) is a concept borrowed from fields of economics and finance and applied to interpersonal relationships. Economists and finance professionals use the cost-benefit ratio as a numerical indicator of the profitability of an endeavor. The higher the ratio, the better the investment and goals are to maximize benefits (also termed returns or rewards) relative to costs (or inputs). Social Exchange theorists were the first to apply cost-benefit principles to human relationships. In brief, Social Exchange theory suggests that, consciously or subconsciously, people appraise relationships to determine their relative benefits or rewards as well as costs (Emerson 1976; Nezu and Nezu 2016). When people view benefits as high, they are apt to be satisfied and to value relationships. Correspondingly, subjective views of relationships as costly or nonrewarding...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna Baptiste
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Kitchings
    • 1
  • Kelsey Kristensen
    • 1
  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel M. Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HartfordUSA