Dating and marriage are a common source of disagreement for parents and their young adult children. Parents and young adults differ on the appropriate age to begin dating, on the appropriate pool of potential partners and on the importance of particular traits in a romantic partner, such as a similar cultural or religious background. This study examined variations in young adults’ experiences with intercultural romantic relationships by ethnicity and immigrant generation. The findings of the current study provide compelling evidence for examining intergroup relationships through a lens that includes culture.
Romantic relationships are situated within broader cultural and family contexts, and this may be particularly salient to those in intergroup relationships. This study examined variations in young adults’ experiences with intercultural romantic relationships by ethnicity and immigrant generation. A sample of ethnically diverse young adults (N = 628; Asian, Latino, and European background) reported on self and parent attitudes toward dating outside of one’s own culture, own current dating status, and disapproval and conflict with parents over current and past dating status. Analyses revealed three key findings. First, intercultural relationships were evenly distributed across ethnic and immigrant generation groups. Second, participants of Asian background perceived greater attitudinal discrepancies with their parents toward intercultural dating than did participants of Latino and European background and were more likely to report intercultural dating conflict with their parents than Latino participants. Third, first-generation and second-generation participants were more likely to report intercultural dating conflict with parents than third-generation participants. Altogether, the findings show the importance of (a) incorporating culture into the conceptualization of intergroup relationships, particularly for ethnic minority and recent immigrant groups, and (b) considering the family context of intercultural dating relationships. Implications for the study of intergroup romantic relationships are discussed.
Sharon Shenhav, Belinda Campos, and Wendy A. Goldberg
Dating out is intercultural: Experience and perceived parent disapproval by ethnicity and immigrant generation
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 0265407516640387, first published on April 5, 2016 doi:10.1177/0265407516640387