Power and Dependency in Close Heterosexual Relationships: A Test of an Exchange Theory Hypothesis
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Paul L. Wienir
Dr. Herbert Smith
Dr. Paul Yelsma
Masters Thesis-Open Access
Ninety-nine heterosexual couples were surveyed to test the exchange theory hypothesis that interpersonal power and relative dependency are inversely related in dyadic relationships. Controlling for gender, this hypothesis was examined through a path analysis for each of six groups: the overall population, dating couples, engaged couples, cohabiting couples, married couples, and couples treated as a single unit. Results indicate that males are reported as relatively more powerful than females, and this gender effect is found to increase with the permanence of the relationship. Relative dependency has effects on power which also vary according to the type of relationship. Self-reported "subjective dependency" was inversely related to power for all subgroups. "Objective dependency," which is the exchange formulation of dependency, was either not significantly related to power or, in some cases, was directly related. Thus, perhaps the exchange theory of power and dependency needs revision as applied to intimate heterosexual relationships.
Sanders, Gregory L., "Power and Dependency in Close Heterosexual Relationships: A Test of an Exchange Theory Hypothesis" (1987). Masters Theses. 1288.