THE PSYCHOSOCIAL WELL-BEING OF BLACK AND WHITE MOTHERS FOLLOWING MARITAL DISSOLUTION

Authors


  • Salaries and research support provided by state and federal funds appropriated to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University (H-055).

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Patrick C. McKenry, Department of Human Development and Family Science, 1787 Neil Ave, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210. E-mail: mckenry.l@osu.edu

Abstract

This study proposed that African American cultural, social, and economic experiences would positively influence the psychosocial adjustment to marital dissolution of Black mothers as compared to White mothers. The study sample consisted of 235 Black and 662 White divorced or separated mothers from the National Survey of Families and Households. The mothers were not remarried and reported having at least one or more biological or adopted children, 18 years of age or younger, living in the home. Discriminant analysis (stepwise), after controlling for socioeconomic status and time since divorce or separation, indicated that Black mothers had higher levels of personal mastery and economic well-being and received greater formal support after divorce. Contrary to the hypotheses, White mothers received more informal support and evidenced earlier entry into dating than Black mothers. The findings document cultural variations in marital dissolution and the strengths of Black families in coping with this transition.

Ancillary