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Interracial Relationships and the Transition to Adulthood

Kara Joyner and Grace Kao
American Sociological Review
Vol. 70, No. 4 (Aug., 2005), pp. 563-581
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4145377
Page Count: 19
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Interracial Relationships and the Transition to Adulthood
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Abstract

This study tracks and explains changing patterns of involvement in interracial sexual relationships during the transition to adulthood. Using a life course perspective that highlights the role of historical changes as well as age-graded changes in contexts and relationships, the authors hypothesize that involvement in interracial sexual relationships declines with increasing age among young adults. The analyses are based on some of the first nationally representative surveys to collect detailed information on sexual relationships: the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the National Health and Social Life Survey. Findings from these surveys show that individuals are decreasingly likely to be in an interracial relationship between the ages of 18 and 35 years. They also suggest that the age decline in interracial involvement is a by-product of the transition to marriage in young adulthood and the increasing formation of interracial relationships in recent years. These findings have implications for future research on interracial relationships and family formation.

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