Commitment refers to a state of perceived dependence on a relationship. Dependence results from believing that one’s partner provides better relationship rewards than any alternative partner. Commitment causes people to hold a long-term orientation toward their relationship and engage in thoughts and behaviors that will uphold it. This topic is relevant to marriage, families, and counseling because commitment is the bond that holds relationships together. This entry first reviews social exchange, the predominant framework used to explain commitment. Next presented are two well-known paradigms of commitment, the investment model and commitment framework, followed by a list of behaviors that are commonly enacted by committed partners. The entry concludes with a discussion of the advantages of commitment.

Theoretical Background

According to social exchange theory, people seek to maximize ...

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