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J Fam Issues. 2011 May;32(5):629-652. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

Conventions of Courtship: Gender and Race Differences in the Significance of Dating Rituals.

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Indiana University.


Dating rituals include dating-courtship methods that are regularly enacted. We explored gender and race differences in the relative importance placed on certain symbolic activities previously identified by the dating literature as constituting such rituals. Using information collected from a racially diverse sample of college students (N = 680), we find that some traditional gender differences persist, but that these are also cross-cut by racial contrasts. Men, overall, place more emphasis on gifting, as well as sexual activity. Gender differences, however, are significantly greater among African Americans as compared to Whites in our sample. African American respondents are also significantly more likely than White respondents to associate meeting the family with a more serious dating relationship. Our findings highlight the need for greater efforts to uncover and account for racial differences in dating, relationships, and courtship.

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