Date of Conferral







Elisabeth Weinbaum


Researchers have found that parental support and acceptance are integral to the success of interracial romantic relationships (IRRs) and well-being of interracial romantic relationship participants (IRRPs). Research on couples involved in IRRs is prevalent, but researchers neglected to include the perspectives of the parents of the IRRPs. The lived experiences of parents of adult children involved in Black-White IRRs and their perceptions of societal reactions to the IRR were explored to better understand the mechanisms behind parental support or disapproval of IRRs. Bronfenbrenner's PPCT model of bioecological theory allowed for a focus on a parent's development within the parent-child relationship and in response to prejudice and discrimination from people outside the immediate family. The use of interpretative phenomenological analysis elicited detailed narratives from 7 mothers of adult children involved in Black-White IRRs for longer than 3 years. Validated through member checking of summary transcripts and the current literature, 4 emergent themes of family connections, feelings expressed, and reacting and experiencing racism/prejudice emerged. Study results indicated that the mothers' experience of their child's IRR depended upon their preexisting parent-child relationship and their personality characteristics. These factors and the mothers' evolving view of prejudice and discrimination affected their reactions to society's view of the IRR. Positive social change opportunities exist in maximizing intrafamilial contact in families with IRRs to reduce prejudice. The study's results are useful for family therapists to inform families struggling to integrate IRRPs so the parents and their adult children can form better relationships and confront race issues directly.