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Mexican American Women in Couple Relationships: A Comparison of Intra-ethnic and Interethnic Couples

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Serena C Galloway
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to compare Mexican American women in intra-ethnic and interethnic relationships on aspects of acculturative stress, perceived social support, and relationship quality. Participants were Mexican American women in committed heterosexual relationship with either a Mexican American partner (intra-ethnic, n = 113) or a Caucasian partner (interethnic, n = 75), Participants were recruited nationally and were ask to complete an online survey comprised of self-report quantitative measures of acculturative stress, perceived social support for the individual and the couple, perceived couple interaction qualities, and relationship satisfaction. A new measure of perceived social support for the couple relationship, Support and Acceptance for the Couple Scale (SACS), was introduced and examined for reliability and validity. Mexican American women with Caucasian partners completed additional qualitative questions regarding relationship qualities. Perceived support and acceptance of the couple relationship from friends were found to be significantly higher for Mexican American women in interethnic couples. In comparing the correlations between interethnic and intra-ethnic couples, significant inverse relationships existed between: (a) perceived support and acceptance of the couple relationship from friends and both aspects of acculturative stress (pressure to acculturate and pressure against acculturation) for interethnic couples and not for intra-ethnic couples; (b) perceived support and acceptance of the couple relationship from family and pressure against acculturation for interethnic couples and not for intra-ethnic couples; and (c) pressure against acculturation and openness of communication given to male partner for interethnic couples and not for intra-ethnic couples. Regardless of ethnic couple type, the SACS measure was found highly reliable and valid, participants reported acculturative stress, and Mexican American women's perceived support and acceptance for the couple relationship may influence their relationship satisfaction with their partner. Study limitations, directions for future research, and clinical implications are discussed.

Full document contains 81 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare Mexican American women in intra-ethnic and interethnic relationships on aspects of acculturative stress, perceived social support, and relationship quality. Participants were Mexican American women in committed heterosexual relationship with either a Mexican American partner (intra-ethnic, n = 113) or a Caucasian partner (interethnic, n = 75), Participants were recruited nationally and were ask to complete an online survey comprised of self-report quantitative measures of acculturative stress, perceived social support for the individual and the couple, perceived couple interaction qualities, and relationship satisfaction. A new measure of perceived social support for the couple relationship, Support and Acceptance for the Couple Scale (SACS), was introduced and examined for reliability and validity. Mexican American women with Caucasian partners completed additional qualitative questions regarding relationship qualities. Perceived support and acceptance of the couple relationship from friends were found to be significantly higher for Mexican American women in interethnic couples. In comparing the correlations between interethnic and intra-ethnic couples, significant inverse relationships existed between: (a) perceived support and acceptance of the couple relationship from friends and both aspects of acculturative stress (pressure to acculturate and pressure against acculturation) for interethnic couples and not for intra-ethnic couples; (b) perceived support and acceptance of the couple relationship from family and pressure against acculturation for interethnic couples and not for intra-ethnic couples; and (c) pressure against acculturation and openness of communication given to male partner for interethnic couples and not for intra-ethnic couples. Regardless of ethnic couple type, the SACS measure was found highly reliable and valid, participants reported acculturative stress, and Mexican American women's perceived support and acceptance for the couple relationship may influence their relationship satisfaction with their partner. Study limitations, directions for future research, and clinical implications are discussed.