The sociology of marital and dating relationships
It is worth noting that some researchers found that among African American couples, perceptions of economic adversity or adequacy were more closely tied to marital quality than were objective measures of occupation, education, and income (Clark-Nicolas & Gray-Little, 1991). (2003) found, unexpectedly, that observed hostile interactions between spouses were not significantly associated with neighborhood economic disadvantage, yet there was a significant negative association between observed warmth between spouses and neighborhood economic disadvantage.
Studies going beyond demographics suggest that regardless of age or education, married African Americans report higher levels of global happiness than do non-married African Americans (Creighton-Zollar & Williams, 1987).
My research focuses on African American married couples, and I take a contextual approach as a means of understanding the behavioral and cultural processes underlying African American marital relationships. They function within a complex context involving social factors, individual characteristics, and psychosocial resources which may contribute to the manner in which spouses interact with their partners. Ecological and cultural diversity in African American family life (pp.
That context must be acknowledged if we want to develop a better understanding of marital behaviors and attitudes.
The community disorganization perspective (Massey & Denton, 1993; Wilson, 1987) suggests that adverse community characteristics negatively influence family relationships.
Studies of community structural characteristics and perceptions of the community environment reveal that marital happiness is negatively associated with (a) community-level poverty (assessed in terms of the proportion of impoverished families living in the community, unemployment, etc.) and (b) perceptions of community adversity (assessed in terms of spouses’ reports about crime, litter in the streets, and quality of schools in the community) (Bryant & Wickrama, 2005).
Moreover, while some work has shown a significant association between gender and marital happiness among African Americans (Bryant, Taylor, Lincoln, Chatters, Jackson, 2008; Corra, Carter, Carter, & Knox, 2009; Creighton-Zollar & Williams, 1987), others have found no association (Thomas, 1990).