'What about the couple?' Interracial marriage and psychological distress

Jenifer L. Bratter, Karl Eschbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


We explore the association between racial composition of couples-that is, whether they are interracial or homogamous-and the psychological distress of their members, as measured in a screening scale for non-specific psychological distress. We use a pooled 1997-2001 National Health Interview Survey sample of the married and cohabiting population of the United States. We compare the odds of distress for interracial vs. same race married/cohabiting adults. There are several key findings. Interracial marriage is associated with increases in severe distress for Native American men, white women, and for Hispanic men and women married to non-white spouses, compared to endogamous members of the same groups. Higher rates of distress are observed for intermarried persons with African American or Native American husbands or wives, and for women with Hispanic husbands. Lower socioeconomic status explains approximately half of the increased distress experienced by white women, while higher socioeconomic status partially suppresses increases in distress for Hispanic men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1047
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • Assimilation
  • Interracial marriage
  • Psychological distress
  • Race/ethnic relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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