Intimate Partner Support When Coping with Racialized Oppression: Is There Variation Between the Support in Same-Race and Interracial Relationships?

Abstract Intimate Partner Support When Coping with Racialized Oppression: Is There Variation Between the Support in Intraracial and Interracial Relationships? By Molly J. Barney Master of Social Work Research on interracial dating and marriages in the United States is on the rise, therefore it is vital for clinicians to engage this scholarship to effectively serve couples. This study addresses the dynamics of intimate partner support for companions who feel that they have experienced racialized oppression. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not dating or marrying someone intraracially acts as a protective factor for coping with racism within intimate partner relationships. The study will compare intimate partner support between interracial couples in which both partners are ethnic minorities, interracial couples in which one partner is Caucasian, and intraracial couples in which both partners identify as the same ethnic minority race. Hypothesis: This research hypothesizes that intraracial couples will know how to support each other best, while partners from other minority races will support each other but still lack understanding and have problematic views, while Caucasian partners will attempt to support their partners but will become defensive or dismissive more often than couples with different racial identity combinations. Methods: The study's methods included vi distributing a quantitative survey that included five open-ended qualitative questions to fifty participants online through Qualtrics. The demographic data collected along with the qualitative data was primarily analyzed to explore the research question. The quantitative statistics produced limited data. Results: The results of the study confirmed the researchers' hypothesis, showing that dating or marrying intraracially is a protective factor for receiving support within intimate relationship when coping with racial discrimination, as opposed to interracial couples including one Caucasian partner having the lowest rated levels of support and ability to hold space, while interracial couples who identify as two different ethnic minority races dating was nearly square in the middle of those two racial identity combinations. Discussion: The discussion of this study reiterates the importance of awareness of these issues for couples that include at least one person who identifies as an ethnic minority and clinicians who treat such couples. Potential explanations for why there was variance between the three racial identity combinations is explored. Keywords: Interracial couples, Intimate partner support, Intraracial couples, counseling