Understanding the disproportionately low marriage rate among African Americans: An amalgam of sociological and psychological constraints

Anthony L Chambers*, Aliza Kravitz

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    28 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    African Americans have the lowest marriage rate of any racial and ethnic group in America. Although the low marriage rate among African Americans has been largely examined through a sociological lens by documenting structural barriers, which has important policy implications, researchers have not sufficiently examined the psychological and interpersonal barriers to marriage or the interpersonal manifestations of sociological constraints. Examining this problem on an interpersonal, microsystem level of analysis is integral, as no policy can repair the fragility of African American relationships or change what happens between a couple behind closed doors. We present the disproportionately low marriage rate problem as a complex matrix of sociological and interpersonal constraints demanding a culturally sensitive, contextual analysis for understanding the question "Why are African Americans not getting married?" We address this question in the context of constraint theory and relationship development. Policy, education, and clinical implications are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)648-660
    Number of pages13
    JournalFamily Relations
    Volume60
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

    Keywords

    • African American couples
    • African American marriage
    • Dating couples
    • Premarital couples
    • Relationship development
    • Transition to marriage

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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