Marital quality of African American and white partners in interracial couples


  • Leigh A. Leslie, Department of Family Studies, University of Maryland; Bethany L. Letiecq, Department of Health and Human Development, Montana State University.

    This research was supported by a Grant-in-Aid from SPPSI, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

should be addressed to Leigh A. Leslie, University of Maryland, Department of Family Studies, College Park, MD 20742, e-mail:


In light of the growing number of interracial marriages in this country, the present study set out to examine the relative strength of one's racial identity, social support, and experience of discrimination in predicting interracial marriage quality. A total of 76 interracial couples (52 African American male/White female and 24 African American female/White male) participated in the study by completing mail surveys. Results revealed that for African American partners, and to a lesser extent White partners, racial identity was the strongest predictor of marital quality. Partners who had pride in their race but were also accepting of other races and cultures experienced higher marital quality. These findings are discussed in light of the literature that suggests interracial couples often minimize the relevance of race in their relationships.