Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Susan M. Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick R. Cundiff

Third Advisor

Dr. Elena Gapova


Interracial, divorce, homogamy, status exchange, convergence perspective

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Black and White race relations have been a point of interest in the United States for hundreds of years, and one way to look at these is to examine the similarities and differences between the two groups. Many studies have looked at Black and White interracial marriages to study how members of the two racial groups form and maintain marriages in comparison to endogamous marriages, but only a few studies have looked specifically at Black and White interracial divorce to see what similarities and differences present themselves to aid in understanding the complexity of interracial relations. At the time of writing this, the present study is the first to use the 2015-2017 National Survey of Family Growth to analyze divorce rates between the groups, and to measure the impact of typical factors that either increase or decrease the odds of divorce for first marriages only. Hypotheses derived from three theories of interracial marriage and divorce—social exchange, social homogamy, and ethnic divorce convergence—were tested. Results show a significant difference between Black endogamous and White endogamous marriages in terms of divorce odds, but no significant differences were found between interracial couples’ divorce odds and endogamous couples’ divorce odds. The dearth of statistically significant findings in the study suggest that none of the theories of interracial marriage/divorce find support. Results of this study highlight the need for more theoretical work to identify factors that influence Black and interracial couples to divorce.