Dating out is intercultural: Experience and perceived parent disapproval by ethnicity and immigrant generation

Report Author: 
Sharon Shenhav, Belinda Campos and Wendy A. Goldberg
Original Date of Publication: 
April, 2016

While differences of opinion regarding dating often leads to conflict between parents and children, romantic relationships between individuals from different cultural groups (intercultural relationships) may be particularly fraught. Older generations are typically less approving of intercultural relationships than younger individuals. These intergenerational conflicts may be exacerbated in immigrant families, as intergroup relationships may be viewed as a threat to maintaining cultural traditions and ethnic identity. The researchers in this study examined the dating experiences of young adults in the US who self-identified as being of Asian, European, or Latino backgrounds. Results indicated that the distribution of intercultural romantic relationships did not vary by ethnic background or immigrant generation. When compared with third generation participants, first generation participants were five times more likely and second generation participants over six times more likely to report conflict with parents over intercultural relationships. Differences were also found between ethnic groups, as participants of Asian background were more likely to experience parental disapproval and conflict than their European or Latino peers. Studies like this one indicate the factors that may contribute to vulnerability for family conflict about intercultural relationships, and adds to the knowledge base for any provider working within the intergenerational immigrant family context. (Immigrant Integration Lab)

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Shenhav, S., Campos, B., & Goldberg, W. A. (2017). Dating out is intercultural: Experience and perceived parent disapproval by ethnicity and immigrant generation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34(3), 397–422.

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