Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt

Second Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

Problem

Relationship satisfaction is a broad construct that has been extensively researched. However, there are gaps in the literature pertaining to relationship satisfaction in minority and interracial couples. This present study examines the extent of the relationship between ethnic identity and adult attachment to relationship satisfaction in White, Black, and Interracial couples.

Method

Participants completed surveys that measure a) ethnic identity, b) adult attachment, and c) relationship satisfaction. Several statistical analysis methods were used to answer two research questions. These methods included descriptive statistics, one-way MANOVA, and Path Analysis. Six hundred and seven adults in the United States general population were studied. Of the participants, 360 were in white same-race relationships, 200 were in black same-race relationships, and 47 were in interracial relationships.

Results

The one-way MANOVA indicated that there were no significant differences between White, Black, and Interracial couples in their experience of ethnic identity, adult attachment, and relationship satisfaction. Path Analysis indicated that the original model, which features all the subscales of the ethnic identity, adult attachment, and relationship satisfaction scales, was not a good fit. The revised model showed the best fit for the data. It suggested that a component of relationship satisfaction, the degree in which couples engage in activities with each other, was influenced by a sense of belonging to their particular ethnic group, an active search into their own ethnic identity, feeling comfortable with being close with their partner, and the degree of perceived emotional affection within the couple dyad. White, Black, and Interracial couples differed on the extent that these variables influenced the degree that couples engaged in activities with each other.

Conclusions

This study shows that ethnic identity and adult attachment are correlated with the degree in which couples engage in activities with each other, but they do not account for all the components of relationship satisfaction. These findings have implications in the fields of counseling and research psychology and add to the understanding of how individuals in White, Black, and Interracial couples relate to each other.

Subject Area

Interracial marriage; Ethnicity; Whites--Racial identity; Blacks--Racial identity; Whites--Relations with Blacks

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