Honoring your family when they are miles away: Family-of-origin factors affecting couple relationship satisfaction in Asian, Anglo, and Asian-Anglo couples



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


Using multiple group path analyses, existing models of family-of-origin, social contextual factors, and couple relationship satisfaction were revised and tested with 166 Asian, 264 Asian-Anglo, and 300 Anglo couples using the RELATE questionnaire. Couple was the unit of analyses. Results provided evidence for the applicability of these "Anglo" models with Asian and Asian-Anglo interracial couple relationships with some notable exceptions.

In general, paths that were proven to be significant in Anglo population (e.g., parent-child relationship and parental marriage, parent-child relationship and relationship satisfaction) were also significant in Asian and Asian-Anglo population. Also, the paths from parents' support to relationship satisfaction were significant both in Asian and Anglo couple relationships. However, different from expectation, parent support was not a significant factor in predicting interracial couple relationship satisfaction. Further, although male parents' support was not a significant predictor of female relationship satisfaction, female parents' support was a significant predictor both for the male and female relationship satisfaction across the three groups, suggesting the importance of female parents' approval of the relationships in predicting both partner's relationship satisfaction. In addition, although the pathways from family violence history to parentchild relationship quality were significantly negative in mixed and Anglo couple relationships, the same paths were not significant but positive in Asian couples. Finally, different from some previous findings, religion was not a significant predictor of relationship satisfaction across the three groups. This finding argues for a more detailed examination of the way couples handle their religious similarities and differences.

In order to provide culturally sensitive and competent services, marriage and family therapists should not only be aware of the different cultural characteristics but also respect the traditional values of specific cultures. Although this study is not free of limitations, the present study provides valuable information to the field of marriage and family therapy in that it examined the relationship dynamics of Asian Americans and Asian-Anglo interracial relationships. Future studies including acculturation/assimilation variables and ethnic origins of Asian American would be helpful in extending the cultural sensitivity of marriage and family therapists.



Family, Relationship, Couples, romantic, Interracial, Anglo, Asian