gaines & brennan 2001

Gaines& - Establishing and Maintaining Satisfaction in Multicultural Relationships Stanley O Gaines Jr Pomona College Kelly A Brennan State

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Establishing and Maintaining Satisfaction in Multicultural Relationships Stanley O. Gaines, Jr. Pomona College Kelly A. Brennan State University of New York College at Brockport Can individuals from different ethnic backgrounds establish and maintain satisfying multicultural friendships and romantic relationships? If so, then what cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes are likely to facilitate the development of stable, mutually satisfying relationships crossing ethnic boundaries? These questions are as applicable to the relatively new field of cultural psychology (see , for a review) as they are to the equally new field of personal relationships (see Berscheid, 1994 , for a review). Not surprisingly, the answers to such questions draw on theory and research in a variety of social and behavioral sciences, ranging from anthropology to psychology. Multicultural relationships (especially heterosexual romantic relationships involving persons from different racial groups) traditionally have been stereotyped as unstable and, thus, as unsatisfying over the long run ( Porterfield, 1978 ; 1995 ). Nevertheless, in the present chapter, we emphasize the cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes that are most likely to foster long-term satisfaction and stability in multicultural relationships. We argue that: (a) during the formation of multicultural relationships, satisfaction is promoted to the extent that partners genuinely appreciate, rather than simply tolerate, the differences in their respective personalities; (b) after multicultural relationships have been formed, satisfaction is maintained to the extent that partners jointly create and sustain relationship cultures that are uniquely theirs; and (c) throughout the development and maintenance of multicultural relation- ships, satisfaction is created and sustained to the extent that relationship partners are open to personal growth via their association with a partner who contributes to their growth, in part due to Found in J. Harvey & A. Wenzel, (Eds). (2001). Close romantic relationships: Maintenance and enhancement. (pp. 237-253). Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
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being from a different culture/ethnic group. WHAT CONSTITUTES A MULTICULTURAL RELATIONSHIP? Before proceeding further, we need to specify what we mean by the term multicultural relationship. To do so, we need to define related constructs, such as culture and ethnic group. Aculture may be defined as a ‘‘set of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors shared by a group of people, but different for each individual, communicated from one generation to the next” ( Matsumoto, 1996 , p. 16); an ethnic group may be defined as a socially defined group whose existence is “based … on thebelief shared by its members that, however distantly, they are of common descent” ( Jenkins, 1997 , pp. 9–10; italics original). The constructs of culture and ethnic group are intertwined. According to
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course BIOL 116 taught by Professor Meyer during the Spring '08 term at Austin College.

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Gaines& - Establishing and Maintaining Satisfaction in Multicultural Relationships Stanley O Gaines Jr Pomona College Kelly A Brennan State

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