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Romantic Relationships Among Unmarried African Americans and Caribbean Blacks: Findings From the National Survey of American Life*


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    The National Survey of American Life was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; U01-MH57716) with supplemental support from the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan. The preparation of this manuscript was supported by grants from the NIMH (K01-MH69923) to Dr. Lincoln and the National Institute on Aging to Dr. Taylor (R01-AG18782) and Drs. Jackson and Taylor (P30-AG15281). The authors would like to thank Dr. David H. Chae for his valuable assistance with the data analysis for this study.

**Karen D. Lincoln is an assistant professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California, 669 W 34th Street, MRF 327, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411 (

Robert Joseph Taylor is Associate Dean for Research and Sheila Feld Collegiate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan, 1080 S. University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106 (

James S. Jackson is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248 (


Abstract: This study investigated the correlates of relationship satisfaction, marriage expectations, and relationship longevity among unmarried African American and Black Caribbean (Caribbean Black) adults who are in a romantic relationship. The study used data from the National Survey of American Life, a national representative sample of African Americans and Caribbean Blacks in the United States. The findings indicated that the correlates of relationship satisfaction, expectations of marriage, and relationship longevity were different for African Americans and Black Caribbeans. For Black Caribbeans, indicators of socioeconomic status were particularly important correlates of relationship satisfaction. For African Americans, indicators of parental status were important for relationship longevity. Policy and practice implications for nonmarital unions are discussed.