Date of Conferral







Brian Ragsdale


An Examination of Perceived Discrimination and Stress

in Interracial Relationships


Sharon Sirmons Conger

MS, Troy University, Florida Campus, 2006

BA, Baptist College of Florida, 2003

Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

General Psychology

Walden University

February 2015

There is a potential increase in stress for White women in interracial relationships with Black men due to perceived racial discrimination that may not have been previously experienced. The purpose of this quantitative study was to measure stress before and after the relationship due to perceived racial discrimination for these women. Guided by the status exchange theory and the stress process model, it was hypothesized that White women in interracial relationships with Black men would not experience stress due to racial discrimination prior to the relationship but would experience stress once in the relationship. Paired-sample t tests were used to measure the statistical significance between the mean scores from the General Ethnic Discrimination Scale (GED, before the relationship) to the corresponding questions on the GED-Revised (after involvement in the relationship) and the level of stress experienced due to perceived racial discrimination among a sample of 39 White women. A standard multiple regression was used to examine whether the perpetrator (family, friends, or strangers) of the perceived discrimination affected the amount of total stress experienced. The results indicate that the participants experienced an increase in perceived racial discrimination after their involvement in an interracial relationship in most areas identified in the study with a significant increase in stress; family was the most stressful. The results of the study could be used by members of interracial relationships and by counselors who work them to facilitate social change by offering more effective coping skills on how perceived racial discrimination affects stress for White women in interracial relationships.

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