Understanding African American Marital Experiences: Stressors, Resources and Couple Interactions

Diamonique N Townsend, Tennessee State University


Marital disruption remains a prevalent issue within the United States. Although marital education programs are available, program restrictions and content focus on White middle-class couples. Consequently, African Americans face additional barriers to participate in such programs and the programs fail to address the unique stressors that African American couples experience. The proposed study sought to explore simultaneous social risk factors among African American couples (e.g., racial discrimination, racial identity, religion, socioeconomic status, egalitarian behaviors, social support, and problem-solving), their unique influence on marital quality and recommendations for improving Marital Education Program (MEP) efficacy. Outcomes highlight limitations among theoretical frameworks for understanding African American marriage formation and marital quality. There remains a need for research and practice to work in partnership, thereby advancing the goals of clinicians, relationship educators, and scholars to address components that need further consideration. Such practices would replace adopting generalized programs or pre-existing models that are not adequate in addressing African American couples. Furthermore, considerations for program development are discussed to increase efficacy among African American clients who desire to participate in marital education programs.

Subject Area

Psychology|Social psychology|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Diamonique N Townsend, "Understanding African American Marital Experiences: Stressors, Resources and Couple Interactions" (2020). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28024658.