Comparing marital satisfaction, acculturation, and personality across Asian-mixed couples and Asian couples in the United States
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As a relatively new but increasing issue, cross-cultural relationships are an area in need further study and understanding for counselors who work with couples and families. Most previous research in this area has been focused on conflicts and issues among cross-cultural couples due to cultural differences; other possible factors or issues, such as personality characteristics, are limited. Moreover, only limited research studies were conducted with Asians involved cross-cultural couples despite the growing population. The purpose of this study was to compare marital satisfaction, acculturation, and personality characteristics across Asian-mixed couples and Asian couples in the United States through examination of (a) the relationship among the level of acculturation, personality, and the level of marital satisfaction of Asians in Asian couples and Asian-mixed couples, (b) the level of acculturation based on their gender and marriage types, (c) the level of marital satisfaction based on their gender and marriage types, and (d) personality characteristics based on marriage types. The sample included 92 Asian and non-Asian individuals in Asian couples and Asian-mixed couples (22 Asian males and 27 Asian females having an Asian partner, 4 Asian males and 23 Asian females having a non-Asian partner, and 14 non-Asian males and 2 non-Asian females having an Asian partner). The findings in this study include (a) no relations among the acculturation level, personality, and the marital satisfaction level of Asians in Asian couples and Asian-mixed couples, (b) significantly higher levels of acculturation in Asians in Asian-mixed couples, (c) no differences in the level of marital satisfaction among individuals in Asian couples and Asian-mixed couples, (d) significantly higher levels of openness, conscientiousness, and extraversion in individuals in Asian-mixed couples. Implications from this study for counselor educators, practitioners, and future counselors working with Asian-mixed couples include (a) being aware of several personality characteristics of Asian-mixed couples that possibly work as strengths and protective factors in their marriage, (b) opening and exploring issues based on wider and holistic views rather than only focus on cultural differences, (c) avoiding stereotypes and pre-assumptions, and (d) understanding basic Asian values.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education