This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effects of African-Aamericans’ Attitudes/Beliefs about Marriage on Their Desire to Marry




Kirkland, Cassandra

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


To address the state of marriage and family life in the African-American community, the purpose of this study was to gain understanding as to why many African-American singles are not choosing marriage. The primary predictor for determining one’s hope/desire to marry was traditional beliefs toward marriage. Additionally, the effects of relational (age at first sex/pregnancy, approval of premarital sex, cohabitation, parents’ marital status, and father involvement) and resource variables (education, household income, geographic mobility, and public aid) on traditional beliefs and one’s hope/desire to marry were also determined. A moderation between gender and traditional beliefs in the prediction of hope/desire to marry was also tested. To address the latent effects of slavery on the current relational functioning of African-Americans, this study hypothesized that the effects of slavery would be manifested presently through lower levels of relational and resource functioning. This study is one of the first of its kind to conceptualize and investigate the latent effects of slavery on the current relational functioning of African-Americans. The analytic sample for this study included only unmarried African-American (N= 738) men (n=242, 33%) and women (n=496, 67%) from ages 18 to 43. A stratified probability sample of census tracts was used, which consisted of individuals from impoverished areas in the city of Chicago (UPFLS; Wilson, 1987). The sample used for this study is a subsample from the Urban Poverty and Family Life Survey of Chicago (UPFLS; Wilson, 1987) that was conducted in 1987 via personal and telephone interviews by the National Opinion Research Center. The final sample of the UPFLS was composed of 2,490 respondents, and minorities were oversampled. Findings from this study indicated that traditional beliefs toward marriage did not predict one’s hope/desire to marry in this sample. However, relational and resource variables did predict African-Americans traditional beliefs toward marriage. A significant moderation between gender and traditional beliefs was not found in the prediction of hope/desire to marry.