An Examination of the Impact of Racial Ideology and Conversations About Race on Relationship Processes among African American Couples

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Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Parsons, Aleja M.
Digital Commons @ DU
African Americans; Racial ideology; Romantic relationships; Clinical Psychology; Psychology
thesis / dissertation description
The current study aimed to explore how considering unique cultural factors and experiences may advance the fields knowledge on relationship dynamics among African American couples. In a sample of 172 self-identified African American adults who were in opposite sex relationships, the current study explored how individual’s own and perception of partner’s racial ideology are associated with romantic processes, if, when, and how African American couples talk about race within their relationship, and the association between “dyadic racial ideology” and relationship processes. Results indicated one’s own racial ideology, conceptualized by individual subscales and cluster profiles, and discrepancy between one’s own and perception of partner’s ideological scores played an important role in understanding relationship outcomes. Findings also suggest that one’s own and perception of partner’s Afrocentricity are associated with higher quality romantic relationships. Results revealed some unexpected associations between frequency talking about race, ratings of supportive communication for race specific conversations, and dyadic racial identity with psychological aggression. In sum, the findings from the current study contribute to the field’s understanding of African American relationships broadly as well as inform clinical interventions developed specifically for this population.