Predicting relationship stability among midlife African American couples

Published on Oct 17, 2011in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
· DOI :10.1037/A0025874
Carolyn E. Cutrona55
Estimated H-index: 55
(Iowa State University),
Daniel W. Russell75
Estimated H-index: 75
(Iowa State University)
+ 2 AuthorsChalandra M. Bryant19
Estimated H-index: 19
(UGA: University of Georgia)
Sources
Abstract
Relatively little is known about factors that contribute to relationship satisfaction and stability among African American couples. Most studies of African American couples have been comparative across racial and ethnic groups. Notably lacking are studies examining predictors of relationship stability within samples of African Americans (Bryant et al., 2010). An understanding of factors that promote relationship stability among African American couples is important for guiding policies and intervention strategies to avoid the pain of dissolution for adults and to maximize the continuity of child-rearing contexts for African American children (Bumpass & Lu, 2000). Approximately 40% of cohabitating couples have children in the home; among African Americans, this figure is approximately 54% (Simmons & O’Connell, 2003). Thus, cohabitation has become a particularly important context for child rearing among African American families. The current study investigated predictors of relationship stability among heterosexual married and cohabiting African American couples with at least one elementary-school-age child in the home. The vulnerability–stress–adaptation model of marriage (Karney & Bradbury, 1995) posits three major influences on relationship quality and stability: enduring vulnerabilities, stressful events, and adaptive processes. Enduring vulnerabilities are characteristics (e.g., low education level) that influence people’s susceptibility to stressful life events and their ability to interact effectively in their relationships. Stressful events comprise the challenges of the current context in which couples live their daily lives, such as unemployment or steep medical bills. Enduring vulnerabilities multiply the impact of adverse events in daily life because the resources to cope effectively are not available. Adaptive processes are the ways that individuals function in their relationships, including, for example, their approaches to resolving conflict (Karney & Bradbury, 1995). These processes emerge in the daily interactions of couples and influence how successfully they deal with the stressors and contextual strains of their lives. Of particular interest in the current study was the cascading influence of enduring vulnerability factors. In our previous work, we showed a significant link between neighborhood-level economic disadvantage, couples’ financial strain, and marital quality (Cutrona et al., 2003). In our broad theoretical framework, we emphasize the impact of societal and community contexts on relationships and health (Cutrona et al., 2003, 2005). In the current study, we did not explicitly include community characteristics in our model but examined the impact on relationship stability of education and income, which are closely tied to neighborhood economic disadvantage (Vartanian & Buck, 2005). We examined the associations over time of education and income on (a) family structure, (b) financial strain (a current stressor), (c) relationship quality (adaptive processes), and (d) relationship stability. We also investigated the potential protective effects of religiosity, an enduring resource of particular importance to African American families (Shorter-Gooden, 2004). The model we tested is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1 Theoretical model.
Download
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
146 Citations
1,910 Citations
83 Citations
References62
Newest
#1Douglas T. Kenrick (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 75
#2Jon K. Maner (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 61
Last. Norman P. Li (University of Texas at Austin)H-Index: 39
view all 3 authors...
We have argued that the evolutionary perspective to social psychology is not untestable, not reductionist, not a theory about rigid genetic determinism, not a justification for the status quo, and not incompatible with sociocultural or cognitive analyses. What it is, instead, is a set of ideas that have proved quite useful in generating novel hypotheses, and parsimoniously connecting findings from very different domains ranging from mate choice and family relationships to aggression and intergro...
554 CitationsSource
#1Sandra L. HofferthH-Index: 60
#2Lynne M. CasperH-Index: 23
Contents: Preface. Part I: Introduction. L.M. Casper, S.L. Hofferth, Playing Catch-Up: Improving Data and Measures for Family Research. Part II: Marriage and Cohabitation. J.T. Knab, S. McLanahan, Measuring Cohabitation: Does How, When, and Who You Ask Matter? M.S. Pollard, K.M. Harris, Measuring Cohabitation in Add Health. P.R. Amato, Studying Marriage and Commitment With Survey Data. A.J. Hawkins, B.J. Fowers, J.S. Carroll, C. Yang, Conceptualizing and Measuring Marital Virtues. S.M. Stanley, ...
70 CitationsSource
#1Steven R. H. Beach (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 90
#2Tera R. Hurt (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 13
Last. Scott M. Stanley (DU: University of Denver)H-Index: 62
view all 6 authors...
We examined 393 African American married couples assigned to (a) a culturally sensitive version of a widely disseminated relationship enhancement program (CSPREP); (b) a similar version of the same program that also included a focus on prayer (PFP condition); or (c) an information-only control condition in which couples received a self-help version of the same program. Husbands averaged 40.5 years of age and wives averaged 38.9 years. We found a significant interaction between intervention and t...
58 CitationsSource
#1Kyle Crowder (UNC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)H-Index: 43
#2Scott J. South (University at Albany, SUNY)H-Index: 63
Research into the effects of neighborhood characteristics on children’s behavior has burgeoned in recent years, but these studies have generally adopted a limited conceptualization of the spatial and temporal dimensions of neighborhood effects. We use longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and techniques of spatial data analysis to examine how both the socioeconomic characteristics of extralocal neighborhoods—neighborhoods surrounding the immediate neighborhood of residence—an...
101 CitationsSource
#1Andrew Grogan-Kaylor (UM: University of Michigan)H-Index: 29
#2Michael E. Woolley (UMB: University of Maryland, Baltimore)H-Index: 18
This study used a nationally representative sample of middle and high school students to examine the degree to which economic, neighborhood, school, and family factors contributed to three points on a proposed school outcome continuum: (1)avoidance of problem behavior, (2)sense of school coherence, and (3)grades. Multilevel models were employed to account for the clustering of students inside schools. Results suggested that though family and neighborhood social factors contribute to variance in ...
17 CitationsSource
Forty decades of sociological stress research offer five major findings. First, when stressors (negative events, chronic strains, and traumas) are measured comprehensively, their damaging impacts on physical and mental health are substantial. Second, differential exposure to stressful experiences is a primary way that gender, racial-ethnic, marital status, and social class inequalities in physical and mental health are produced. Third, minority group members are additionally harmed by discrimina...
1,097 CitationsSource
#1Chalandra M. Bryant (PSU: Pennsylvania State University)H-Index: 19
#2K. A. S. Wickrama (Iowa State University)H-Index: 9
Last. Christine E. Stanik (PSU: Pennsylvania State University)H-Index: 9
view all 6 authors...
Although many African Americans share a sociohistorical background, empirical research on family and marital processes has often overlooked a great deal of heterogeneity within the group. In addition, African Americans face different stressors and life circumstances from the general population. Given that a high proportion of African American marriages end in divorce and that African Americans report relatively low levels of marital quality, it is important to consider factors that may not be ad...
83 CitationsSource
#1Martha J. Cox (UNC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)H-Index: 75
#2Roger Mills-Koonce (UNC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)H-Index: 12
Last. Jean-Louis Gariépy (UNC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)H-Index: 7
view all 4 authors...
In the wake of prominent theoreticians in developmental science, whose contributions we review in this article, many developmental psychologists came to endorse a systems approach to understanding how the individual, as it develops, establishes functional relationships to social ecological contexts that from birth to school entry rapidly increase in complexity. The concept of developmental cascade has been introduced in this context to describe lawful processes by which antecedent conditions may...
110 CitationsSource
#1Steven L. Neuberg (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 54
#2Douglas T. Kenrick (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 75
Last. Mark Schaller (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 67
view all 3 authors...
1 What is Evolutionary Social Psychology? 2 Important Assumptions and Conceptual Tools 3 The Affordance Management System 4 Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Psychological Phenomena 5 Linkages to Development, Learning, and Culture 6 Thinking Straight about Theory and Research in Evolutionary Social Psychology 7 Future Directions 8 Final Comments 9 Envoi
147 CitationsSource
#1Megan M. Sweeney (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 22
This article reviews areas of advancement over the past decade in our understanding of remarriage and stepfamilies and suggests promising new directions for future work. Profound shifts in the demographic context of family life motivate central themes in recent scholarship on remarriage and stepfamilies, including the diversity and complexity of stepfamily structures and processes, the consequences of multiple partnerships for adults and children, and potential selectivity in the characteristics...
352 CitationsSource
Cited By45
Newest
#1Diana Cedeño (SIU: Southern Illinois University Carbondale)H-Index: 2
#2Autumn M. Bermea (OSU: Ohio State University)H-Index: 6
Last. Michelle L. Toews (KSU: Kansas State University)H-Index: 13
view all 4 authors...
Latino youth are more likely to live under the poverty line and to become adolescent parents. Although research exists examining adolescent mothers, less is known about adolescent fathers, particularly Latino adolescent fathers. Much of what does exist uses a deficit lens, as opposed to one of strength and resilience. Although adolescent fathers sometimes do struggle in their transition to fatherhood, it is critical to understand the positive ways in which they adapt. The present study uses in-d...
Source
#1Xue Bai (PolyU: Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
#2Chang Liu (PolyU: Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Source
#1Nick Frye (AU: Auburn University)
#2Lawrence Ganong (University of Missouri System)H-Index: 2
Last. Marilyn Coleman (University of Missouri System)H-Index: 4
view all 4 authors...
We examined emotion regulation strategies as moderators of marital conflict and marital satisfaction between first-married and remarried couples. Remarried couples with a stepchild (n = 108) and fi...
1 CitationsSource
#1Benjamin R. Karney (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 60
#2Thomas N. Bradbury (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 83
12 CitationsSource
#1Kristin M. Lindahl (UM: University of Miami)H-Index: 20
#2Sara Wigderson (UM: University of Miami)H-Index: 7
It is estimated that about one-third of couples experience distress or discord at some point in the course of their relationship. The early literature of marriage and committed relationships focused nearly exclusively on White, heterosexual, non-Hispanic couples, but over the past couple of decades, there has been increased focus on the dynamics and specific needs of couples from different ethnic backgrounds as well as same-sex couples. In this chapter, we summarize some of the major challenges ...
1 CitationsSource
#1Reza Karimi (Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services)H-Index: 16
#2Maryam Bakhtiyari (Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services)H-Index: 3
Last. Abbas Masjedi Arani (Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services)H-Index: 5
view all 3 authors...
OBJECTIVES: In recent decades, due to the high prevalence of divorce in numerous countries and the detrimental aftermath thereof, it has become increasingly important to study the components of marital stability. The current study explored fundamental protective factors in long-term marriage through a systematic review. METHODS: Searches for relevant publications were conducted in Embase, Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, Science Direct, Magiran, and Scientific Information Database from their ince...
6 CitationsSource
#1Veola E. Vazquez (California Baptist University)H-Index: 1
#2Isabel Otero (California Baptist University)
Last. Jennifer Goodlow (California Baptist University)
view all 3 authors...
ABSTRACTAlthough the percentage of Black-White interracial marriage continues to increase in the United States, research is limited related to the impact of stigma on these couples and the processes that influence their responses to negative racial experiences. In the current study, the Vulnerability-Stress-Adaptation model was used as a theoretical foundation to investigate the relationship between stigma and couple satisfaction among Black-White interracially married couples, along with the po...
1 CitationsSource
#1Allen W. Barton (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 16
#2Steven R. H. Beach (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 90
Last. Gene H. Brody (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 114
view all 8 authors...
This study presents results from a randomized controlled trial of the Protecting Strong African American Families (ProSAAF) program, a family-centered intervention designed to promote strong couple, coparenting, and parent-child relationships in two-parent African American families. A total of 346 African American couples with an early adolescent child participated; all families lived in rural, low-income communities in the southern USA. Intent-to-treat growth curve analyses involving three wave...
15 CitationsSource
#1Rikuya Hosokawa (Kyoto University)H-Index: 7
#2Toshiki Katsura (Kyoto University)H-Index: 6
Socioeconomic status (SES) is an important contextual factor influencing children’s development. However, there have been limited attempts to examine either the impact of relative poverty on child development or the relationships between specific SES indicators and mental health domains. This study elucidates these relationships in Japanese preschool children who experience high levels of relative poverty. Participants were 3218 Japanese children aged 5–6 years. Their mothers completed self-repo...
3 CitationsSource
#1Casey J. Totenhagen (UA: University of Alabama)H-Index: 13
#2Ashley K. Randall (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 19
Last. Kayla Lloyd (UA: University of Alabama)H-Index: 1
view all 3 authors...
Objective We examined whether high levels of internalized homophobia and low levels of openness about one's sexual identity (“outness”) were enduring vulnerabilities for same-sex couples' relationship functioning. Background The vulnerability–stress–adaptation (VSA) model describes how stress can impact relationship functioning. This model has predominately been applied to the study of heterosexual couples, which leaves a dearth of literature on enduring vulnerabilities specific to same-sex coup...
19 CitationsSource