Racial Color-blindness and Interracial Relationship Outcomes

Open Access
Abbey, Rubyna
Graduate Program:
Counseling Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 08, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Kathleen Bieschke, Dissertation Advisor
  • Kathleen Bieschke, Committee Chair
  • Jolynn Carney, Committee Member
  • Jonna Marie Kulikowich, Committee Member
  • Kathleen Mary Collins, Committee Member
  • Susan S Woodhouse, Special Member
  • interracial
  • couples
  • color-blind
  • racial attitudes
  • relationship satisfaction
  • perceived support
  • racial identity
  • romantic
Given the rapid and steady increase in African American-White interracial relationships since 1967, it is imperative to conduct research examining factors that influence relationship outcomes within interracial relationships. The current study examined main effects of African American partner and White partner color-blind racial attitudes, as well as their interaction, in predicting relationship outcomes (i.e., relationship satisfaction and perceived support) from the perspective of African Americans involved in African American-White, heterosexual, interracial relationships. In addition, the links between color-blind racial attitudes and racial identity status were examined. Participants were 62 African American-White, heterosexual, interracial dyads. Contrary to expectation, results indicated that the main effect of White partner color-blind racial attitudes was not significant in predicting African American partner relationship outcomes. Instead, African American partners’ color-blind racial attitudes were positively associated with African American partner relationship satisfaction and African American partner perceived support in his or her White partner. Also contrary to expectation, no significant interaction emerged between White partner color-blind racial attitudes and African American partner color-blind racial attitudes in predicting neither African American relationship satisfaction nor perceived support. Correlation analyses of color-blind racial attitudes and racial identity statuses among African Americans revealed that Pre-Encounter Assimilation and Pre-Encounter Miseducation, as expected, were positively associated with unawareness of racial privilege, unawareness of institutional discrimination, and unawareness of blatant racial issues. Contrary to expectation, no significant correlations were found between more resolved racial identity statuses and color-blind racial attitudes for African American participants. Among White participants, consistent with expectation, a positive correlation was found between Disintegration and unawareness of blatant racial issues; however, the Reintegration status was not significantly correlated with White color-blind racial attitudes. Contrary to expectation, Contact status was positively related to unawareness of racial privilege and unawareness of blatant racial issues. A detailed discussion of the findings, suggestions for future research, and clinical implications are presented.