“I'm Right By Doing What My Mother Says...”: A Pilot Study Chronicling African American Single Mothers' Influence on Their Daughter's Romantic Heterosexual Relationships

By Johnitha Watkins Johnson and Elsa Gonzalez y Gonzalez.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Recent research avows African American daughters learn to love and exercise resilience through direct and vicarious interactions with their mother. While little research thoroughly elucidates the African American mother-daughter relationship, even fewer studies explore the African American single mother's influence on her daughter's perception of men and romantic heterosexual relationships. For the purpose of this qualitative pilot study, Social Learning Theory and Black Feminist Thought were selected as theoretical paradigms, and Narrative Analysis as an applicable method for analyzing the data. Findings revealed, consistent with previous research, African American daughters revere their mother. Moreover, these daughters unconsciously replicate their mother’s romantic relationships, comply with their mother’s lessons on men and relationships, imitate their mother’s demeanor, and select mates whose affect and behavior parallel their father’s. Preliminary conclusions indicate the mother-daughter relationship is essentially the barometer by which the daughters gauged their own romantic relationships.

Keywords: African American single mothers, Mother-daughter Relationship, Romantic Relationships

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.15-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 637.519KB).

Johnitha Watkins Johnson

PhD Student, Teaching, Learning, & Culture, Department of Education and Human Development, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

Johnitha Watkins Johnson, M.S., is a PhD student at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, USA. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant for the Center for Urban School Partnerships, an educational center whose foci include providing professional development services to K-12 educators, and disseminating empirically based research to the nation. With a major in Curriculum & Instruction, Johnitha's primary research agenda focuses on urban education, students of color, equity pedagogy, and students of single parent homes. This research effort satisfies her secondary interest, which is the plight of daughters raised by their African American single mother.

Dr. Elsa Gonzalez y Gonzalez

Research Associate, Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, Texas A&M University, USA

Dr. Elsa Gonzalez y Gonzalez serves as a Research Associate in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. Her research interests include leadership and management in higher education institutions, international higher education administration, and qualitative research methodology. She is currently the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, a rigorous peer reviewed journal.