Files in this item



application/pdf3242811.pdf (5MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Promoting Relationship Stability Among African American Couples: Examining the Role of Emotional Closeness, Commitment, and Relationship Structure
Author(s):Chaney, Cassandra
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kramer, Laurie
Department / Program:Human and Community Development
Discipline:Human and Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Black Studies
Abstract:African Americans are not marrying at the same rate as Whites and members of other racial and ethnic groups (Fields, 2003) and this may influence the stability of these relationships. The aim of this study was to better understand how married and cohabitating African Americans define and experience emotional closeness and commitment as these processes have been shown to be directly linked to relationship stability. 31 married and 30 cohabitating low-income African American couples participated. Couples were between the ages of 21 to 45 years and been in their relationship between 1 and 15 years. Standardized instruments were administered to assess dimensions of emotional closeness, commitment, and relationship satisfaction. Interviews were conducted with the couples in their homes and were aimed at yielding a co-construction of couples' views of these constructs. Special attention was devoted to examining the narratives that were elicited from these interviews. Results revealed few differences between married and cohabitating couples. Cohabitating couples reported higher levels of intimacy in their relationship than did married couples. In contrast, married couples reported higher levels of commitment than did cohabitating couples. For married couples, higher levels of commitment were linked with greater relationship satisfaction and cohesion, but less consensus. In contrast, levels of commitment for cohabitating couples were not associated with measures of relationship satisfaction. Married couples demonstrated more collaborative and confirming statements to one another during their interview than did cohabitating couples. The analysis of the narrative themes that emerged from the interviews helped to illuminate the specific ways in which married and cohabitating African American couples consider emotional closeness and commitment. In general, few differences were apparent in their perceptions of emotional closeness. However, married couples were more likely to report that commitment played a large role in their decision to be together. Cohabitating couples expressed different views of commitment, often stating that commitment played a minimal role in their relationship or that they experienced commitment in ways that were not linked to the legal affirmation of their relationship. Implications for future research and practice include the importance of pinpointing the individual and cultural deterrents that affect the relationship stability of low income African American couples. Specific attention should be paid to exploring the role of intergenerational influences on relationship structure and stability, as well as the effects of engagement and premarital cohabitation upon emotional closeness, commitment, and relationship satisfaction.
Issue Date:2006
Description:193 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3242811
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2006

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics