Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Jesse N. Valdez


color-blind, couples, empathy, interracial, relationship adjustment, sexism


Author: Elizabeth R. Muiño

Title: Relationship Adjustment in African American/White Interracial Couples

Advisor: Jesse N. Valdez, Ph.D.

Degree Date: August 2013

Interracial intimate partnerships are at greater risk for relationship dissolution (i.e., divorce or permanent separation in cohabitating couples) than their endogamous counterparts (Bratter & King, 2008). However, a disparity in dissolution rates exists between African American male/White female pairings and African American female/White male pairings. This study sought to elucidate psychological variables that may be related to this sizable discrepancy. It was hypothesized that differences between these pairings exist with regard to color-blindness, empathy, sexism, and relationship adjustment. It was further hypothesized that color-blindness, empathy, and sexism, as controlled for by gender and race, would predict relationship adjustment.

Participants included African American male/White female and African American female/White male partners. Participants were asked to individually complete all surveys and questionnaires (i.e., demographic questionnaire, Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale, Interpersonal Reactivity Index, The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, and The Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale) through Survey Monkey. Data were gathered through four internet-based processes: (a) a specially created Facebook® page for the study and additional postings on Facebook® forums; (b) a snowball effect of emailing the study out to all friends and family in present author's email account; (c) the study's link was posted on Craigslist; (d) and finally, an email was sent out to university undergraduate and graduate departments around the United States. Sample sizes varied from n=34 to n=40 for each analysis. African American men were removed from the data analyses, as there were not enough participants from this group. Results of the study did not show statistically significant differences between African American women, White women, or White men among any of the variables, with the exception of empathy. In terms of empathy, African American women and White women scored significantly higher on empathic concern than White men. Furthermore, the variables did not significantly predict relationship adjustment as hypothesized. Implications of the results and recommendations for future research are discussed.


Copyright is held by the author.


Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Elizabeth Rose Muino

File size

159 p.

File format





Counseling psychology, Social work, Sociology