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Race Matters, Even in Marriage: Identifying Factors Linked to Marital Outcomes for African Americans

Authors


  • *

    Institute for Social & Behavioral Research, Iowa State University, 2625 N. Loop Drive #500, Research Park, Ames, Iowa 50010 (s2kas@iastate.edu).

  • **

    College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Alabama, Box 870158, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487 (jbolland@ches.ua.edu).

  • ***

    Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, 211 South Henderson, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802 (bmb232@psu.edu).

  • Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, W161 Lagomarcino, Ames, Iowa 50011 (ccutrona@iastate.edu).

  • Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, 211 South Henderson, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802 (ces30@psu.edu).

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, 211 South Henderson, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802 (cmb34@psu.edu).

Abstract

Although many African Americans share a sociohistorical background, empirical research on family and marital processes has often overlooked a great deal of heterogeneity within the group. In addition, African Americans face different stressors and life circumstances from the general population. Given that a high proportion of African American marriages end in divorce and that African Americans report relatively low levels of marital quality, it is important to consider factors that may not be addressed in models of marriage that were developed using the majority population. We introduce a model that includes components relevant to understanding marriage among African Americans, including financial strain, racial discrimination, and minority status. Using the model, we review the literature and highlight gaps in existing research.

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