Date of Award

Fall 2004

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Murray Straus


This study examines three important issues for race relations in the United States today using a sample of college students: interracial dating patterns, attitudes towards interracial dating, and dating violence among same-race versus interracial couples. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African American/White couples make up less than 1 percent of all married couples in the U.S. Rates of intermarriage for Hispanics and Asians in the U.S. are much higher. Using a sample of college students (N = 1174) from two Historically Black Universities and three Predominantly White Universities, results indicate that attitudes towards interracial relationships differ by race, but not by gender. The results on cultural norms reveal that African American/White relationships are less approved of than Asian American/White relationships and that overall, the African American students were more opposed to interracial dating and marriage than the other racial/ethnic groups. These results reveal a high amount of professed acceptance of interracial dating, but very low rates of interracial dating or marriage among the students. African Americans also indicated that their parents would disapprove much more so than the parents of students in the other racial/ethnic groups. Further, those students at Historically Black Universities are less approving of interracial dating and marriage than the students at Predominantly White Universities. These results suggest support for Andrew Hacker's theory that American society is separated primarily along Black and White lines. This study also examined dating violence among interracial student couples relative to same-race couples. The results indicate that there is more severe partner violence at Historically Black Universities than at the Predominantly White Universities, however they also indicate that interracial couples and Black/White couples are not at an increased risk for violence.