Attitudes of Cuban undergraduates towards intermarriage as a function of acculturation

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the acculturation process and attitudes towards intermarriage using M. M. Gordon's (1964) theory. His theory outlines a seven-stage model of acculturation. During the first stage, individuals increase their participation in and preference for activities of the dominant host culture, rather than their native culture. The next stage involves establishing social relationships with members of other ethnic groups and the host culture. Marital assimilation is the third stage and involves large-scale intermarriage. The process continues to the point where there is an absence of prejudice, discrimination, and value and power conflict in the later stages. The focus of this study was on these first three stages. Additionally, the construct of familism, the degree to which one expresses identification with and attachment toward their family, was examined to understand how this variable relates to the acculturation process and attitudes towards intermarriage.The participants in this study were 161 Cuban undergraduates attending college in South Florida. The students completed instruments that measure the various steps in the acculturation process, social desirability, familism, and attitudes towards intermarriage. Correlational analyses yielded several interesting results. There was a significant positive relationship between the extent to which the participants engaged in Anglo-American cultural activities and positive attitudes towards intermarriage. Additionally, gender differences in attitudes towards intermarriage were found to be significantly related to the students' level of acculturation. As males increase their participation in and preference for activities of the dominant host culture, their positive attitudes towards intermarriage also increase. This relationship was not found with the female students whose attitudes towards intermarriage remain the same across levels of behavioral acculturation. The results of this study did not support the aspect of M. M. Gordon's theory which asserts that the degree of marital assimilation will be more related to the extent of structural assimilation than to the degree of behavioral acculturation. Furthermore, no relationship was found between the construct of familism and any of the other constructs examined.


Education, Educational Psychology; Psychology, General; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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