Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Name

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Joanna Mendez-Pounds

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Lisa Merchant

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Greg Brooks


This study aimed to identify individual factors that work alongside structural factors limiting the marriage rate of educated African American men to educated African American women. Previous research identified structural factors related to systemic racism that contribute to the marriage gap between Black men and women in America. The researcher in this study conducted a focus group with three Black men and another focus group with three Black women in order to identify any individual expectations or characteristics that each group considers when evaluating a partner’s marriageability. Data was analyzed using conversation content analysis techniques on focus group responses. Findings uncovered two themes and six subthemes that best represent the areas within which the expectations of African American men and women differ. The themes include Thinking of the Future (Growth Mindset for men and Maturity for women) and Treating Others with Care (Respect and Companionship for men and Respect of Personhood and Family Dynamics for women). The researcher concluded that the rate of marriage between educated Black men and women is limited by each group’s ability to be patient and understanding with each other while overcoming the interpersonal effects of systemic racism.

Creative Commons License

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



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