Primary Relationship Scripts Among Lower-income, African American Young Adults


  •    The project described was supported by Award Number R01HD051438 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.
  •    We thank community agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA, Chicago, IL, and Greater Birmingham, AL, that generously enabled us to access young adults, and we thank the young adults who participated. We also extend our appreciation to Elonda Bates, Mohammed Abdulla, Frankia Granberry, Besheer Mohamed, Clara Kamunde, and Malcolm Hoover, who conducted the interviews. We also thank Colette Auerswald and Amy Johnson for their contribution to the research. We thank Susan G. Millstein for her contributions to the research and her comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Stephen L. Eyre, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California Street, Suite 245, Box 0503, San Francisco, CA 94143-0503. E-mail:


Research on romantic relationships among lower income, African American young adults has mostly focused on problem behaviors, and has infrequently documented nonpathological relationship processes that are widely studied among middle-class college students, their wealthier and largely European American counterparts [Journal of Black Studies 39 (2009) 570]. To identify nonpathological cultural concepts related to heterosexual romantic relationships, we interviewed 144 low to low-mid income, African American young adults aged 19–22 from the San Francisco Bay Area, CA, metropolitan Chicago, IL, and Greater Birmingham, AL. We identified 12 gender-shared scripts related to the romantic relationship in areas of (1) defining the relationship, (2) processes of joining, (3) maintaining balance, and (4) modulating conflict. Understanding romantic relationship scripts is important as successful romantic relationships are associated with improved mental and physical health among lower income individuals as compared with individuals without romantic partners [Social Science & Medicine 52 (2001) 1501].


针对美国非洲裔低收入年轻人浪漫关系的研究主要聚焦于问题行为,而广泛用于研究中产阶级大学生(主要为欧裔的比他们更富有的的同龄人)的非病理学关系过程则鲜有记录,(King & Allen, 2009)。为了识别与异性浪漫关系相关的非病理学文化概念,我们对来自于加州旧金山湾区、伊利诺伊州大芝加哥地区,以及阿拉巴马州大伯明翰地区144名年龄在19-22岁间的低收入到中低收入非洲裔年轻人进行了访谈。我们在以下领域识别了12个与浪漫关系相关的男女共有的脚本:1)对浪漫关系的解释,2)结合的过程,3)保持平衡,以及4)缓和冲突。了解浪漫关系的脚本很重要,因为与没有浪漫配偶的个人相比,低收入人群中成功的浪漫关系与身心健康的改善有关(Cattell, 2001)。


Las investigaciones sobre las relaciones amorosas entre los jóvenes adultos afroamericanos de bajos recursos se han centrado principalmente en los comportamientos problemáticos y pocas veces han documentado los procesos relacionales no patológicos que generalmente se estudian entre estudiantes universitarios de clase media, sus pares más adinerados y predominantemente euroamericanos (King & Allen, 2009). Para reconocer los conceptos culturales no patológicos asociados con las relaciones amorosas heterosexuales, entrevistamos a 144 jóvenes adultos afroamericanos de ingresos bajos a bajos-intermedios de entre 19 y 22 años del área de la Bahía de San Francisco (California), del área metropolitana de Chicago (Illinois) y del área central de Birmingham (Alabama). Identificamos 12 patrones comunes a ambos sexos relativos a la relación amorosa en las áreas de 1) definición de la relación, 2) procesos de unión, 3) mantenimiento del equilibrio, y 4) modulación del conflicto. La comprensión de los patrones de las relaciones amorosas es importante ya que las relaciones amorosas exitosas están asociadas con una mejor salud mental y física entre las personas de bajos recursos en comparación con las personas que no tienen pareja (Cattell, 2001).