Date of Award

12-2015

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Marriage and Family Therapy: M.S.

Department

Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

College

School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Jennifer Connor

Second Advisor

Manijeh Daneshpour

Third Advisor

Tina Sacin

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

interethnic relationship, Latino, Hispanic, white, qualitative research, romantic relationship

Abstract

Interethnic Latina/o-white couples are becoming more common, yet little is understood about why these couples stay together or get divorced (Fu & Wolfinger, 2011; Garcia, Riggio, Palavinelu, & Culpepper, 2012; Qian & Lichter, 2007). This study uses phenomenology methodology to better understand their lived experience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five Latino-white couples and one Latina-white couple. The five themes discovered include interethnic couple identity; combining languages; external support of the relationship; external stressors of the relationship; and partaking in the partner’s culture. Using a Human ecology lens allows for understanding of what makes these couples different and similar to monoethnic couples. Viewing a couple’s co-constructed culture at a microsystemic level may be more beneficial than viewing each individual’s culture of origin from a macrosystemic level. Clinical recommendations for interethnic Latina/o-white couples include helping couples cope with discrimination, having therapists use the correct terminology, and addressing what language they are comfortable with in session. Further investigation is needed in regards to how Latina/o-white interethnic couples handle language choice, discrimination, and perceptions of participating in their partner’s culture.

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