Date of Conferral







Nina Nabors


Although there has been a decline in heterosexual marriages, marriage is still an expectation for adults in the United States. Consequently, unmarried women feel pressured to explain their single marital status. Black women are the least likely to marry, compared to non-Black women and Black men, yet there is limited research addressing the experiences of unmarried Black women. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of unmarried, college-educated Black women and the effects of cultural and social expectations of marriage. Face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 women. The intersectionality theory was used as the theoretical framework to guide the data interpretation. By employing the Moustakas data analysis method for inductive data analysis, 6 themes emerged from the data: Me versus Them: Marital expectations, Marriage in the Black Community, Outsider Looking In, Single and Not So Happy, Single and Happy, and Perception of Marriage. The most significant emergent theme was Single and Happy because it depicted singlehood for this group and provided better understanding of the phenomenon in study. The participants pointed out various factors (see subthemes) that could cause insecurities and maladaptive symptoms but also indicated that unmarried degreed Black women are living satisfactorily while awaiting their marital opportunity, devoid of pressure from others to marry. The results of the study may promote positive social change by helping clinicians and society to understand this marginalized group of women. As such, more understanding and sensitivity will be rendered to these women as their lived experiences are reported, aiding in cultivating a society that is more accepting of single marital status for college-educated Black women.