Communicating race in an interracial romantic relationship
Trego, Alison Beth
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This study investigates how dating partners in interracial (African American and Caucasian) romantic relationships engage in communication about the topic of race by integrating Communication Boundary Management theory (Petronio, 1993) within the stages of the Interracial Relationship Development Model (Foeman & Nance, 1999). Participants involved in a heterosexual, interracial romantic relationship (not engaged or married) for a minimum of six months were interviewed, including 4 African American females, 4 African American males, 4 Caucasian females, and 3 Caucasian males. Thematic analysis guided by critical incident methodology yielded four categories of communication (external non-relational, external relational, internal non-relational, and internal relational) and two types of critical events (spontaneous and anticipated). Relational outcomes are discussed. Findings suggest that age and influence of family members can contribute to the success or dissolution of an interracial relationship.