Racial and Ethnic Variations in Marital Quality: A Comparison of Blacks, Whites, and Mexican-Americans

Jennifer M. Roebuck, Bowling Green State University

Marital quality is an important predictor of both individual well-being and union dissolution. While research has established that blacks have lower marital quality than whites, little is known about the marital quality of Hispanics. Hispanics' union formation rates and attitudes toward marriage are more similar to those of whites than blacks; however, it is unclear how marital quality and its predictors may vary among blacks, whites, and Hispanics. In this paper, I examine five dimensions of marital quality -- marital happiness, marital disagreements, marital interaction, marital problems, and marital instability -- for blacks, whites, and Mexican-Americans using data from the first wave of the National Survey of Families and Household (NSFH). Multiple mechanisms associated with marital quality are investigated, including sociodemographic factors, union characteristics, economic factors, support factors, and attitudes. Results show that the marital quality of Mexican-Americans is more similar to that of whites than to that of blacks.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Union Formation and Dissolution and Parents' Living Arrangements