American Sociological Association

Better Together? Interracial Relationships and Depressive Symptoms

Previous research shows that married and cohabiting individuals are happier and enjoy greater levels of psychological well-being than single individuals. However, most of this research relies on data from intraracial—mostly white—couples, and less is known about the emotional health outcomes of individuals in interracial partnerships. This study uses fixed-effects regression to examine depressive symptoms among those transitioning into intraracial and interracial relationships in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Estimating models separately by gender and race, our analyses show that although whites in same-race relationships enjoy the psychological health benefits traditionally associated with union formation, a more complex pattern characterizes these benefits for nonwhites and those in interracial relationships. These findings suggest that although Americans enter increasingly diverse romantic relationships, union formation might not equally benefit all.

Authors

Jaclyn S. Wong and Andrew M. Penner

Volume

4