Black Couples in Committed Relationships Are Healthier, Regardless of Marital Status

marriageA new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology finds that men and women who live together in a committed relationship, regardless of marital status, are healthier than people who do not cohabit with a committed partner. The data was taken from the Family and Community Health Study that has been in operation since 1995 at the University of Georgia. The vast majority of the subjects of the survey were African Americans.

“There is a great body of research that says romantic relationship quality matters, though much of that research is on married couples,” said Dr. Ashley Barr, the lead author of the study, which was completed while she was a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Georgia. “We approached the question from a different angle, asking how romantic relationships, in their varied forms, matter for young people in the transition to adulthood.”

The relationship to better health and committed relationships did not hold for interracial couples. The authors hypothesize that part of this result can be explained by the phenomenon of micro-aggressions that interracial couples experience on a daily basis. Dr. Barr stated that “things like running into an old friend or even a stranger and that person being surprised by your romantic partner because they’re of a different race than you, or having the status of your children questioned because they are of a different race” are examples of incidents, which on the surface may not appear to be insults, but add up on a daily basis. These micro-aggressions are thought to affect health adversely by enhancing stress.

The study, “A Dyadic Analysis of Relationships and Health: Does Couple-Level Context Condition Partner Effects?” may be accessed here.

Related Articles


  1. If you’re not married, you’re not really committed. No matter what you tell yourself.

    Single people shouldn’t act like their married. Married people shouldn’t act like their single.

    Don’t live together outside of marriage.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

In Memoriam: Nathan Hare, 1933-2024

Dr. Hare was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement throughout the 1960s and was a strong advocate for equal educational opportunities for Black Americans. In 1968, he founded the country's first Black studies program at San Francisco State University.

Census Bureau Finds White Households Were Ten Times Wealthier Than Black Households in 2021

In 2021, White households represented 65.3 percent of all American homes, but owned 80 percent of all wealth. In comparison, Black households represented 13.6 percent of all households, but held only 4.7 percent of all wealth.

Bonita Brown Named Fourteenth Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University

Earlier in her career, Dr. Brown served as an assistant attorney with Winston-Salem State University. On July 1, she will return to the historically Black university as its fourteenth chancellor.

Study Debunks Popular Theory that Incarceration Leads to Safer Communities for Black Americans

A new study from Boston University has challenged the assumption that incarceration leads to safer communities, finding higher rates of incarceration in Black communities results in higher gun violence in those same communities. This pattern was not found among White or Hispanic neighborhoods.

Featured Jobs