Crossing borders: The negotiation of difference and formation of couple identity in interracial
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Marriage and Family Therapy
Family, Life Course, and Society | Social Psychology
Interracial marriages have proliferated in the United States over the past three decades. This study explores the process by which interracial partners negotiate differences in their attempts to establish a relationship identity. Interviews were conducted with ten black-white couples who had been married for at least one year and had at least one child together. Interviews were semi-structured, featuring open-ended questions, and partners were interviewed separately and together. Data were analyzed inductively using the method of constant comparison. Results reflect interracial couples' experience of their life together, their perception of others' perceptions of them, and their processes of negotiating differences in regard to race, gender, and class. Black partners more than white partners demonstrated an awareness of and sensitivity to public reactions to the couple and reported more concerns about what challenges their children might face. Implications for therapy with interracial couples are discussed, including the significance of therapists' and clients' locations on axes of power.
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Killian, Kyle D., "Crossing borders: The negotiation of difference and formation of couple identity in interracial" (1997). Marriage and Family Therapy - Dissertations. 38.