Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling, Quantitative Methods, and Special Education

First Advisor

Asner-Self, Kimberly

Second Advisor

Jones, Sosanya


This qualitative study explored the lives of 11 Black men to better understand how Black men who were raised in single Black mother homes build romantic relationships with Black women. One focus group and a series of individual in-person interviews were conducted with the participants who ranged between 23 and 43 years of age. Participants were asked questions that inquired about their family of origin, messages they received about relationships, how they define masculinity, their perceptions of Black women, and their previous and current experiences building romantic relationships. Guided by a narrative approach, several different coding methods were used to help reveal six core themes related to the study. Some of the more significant themes include: 1) conflicted feelings towards their parents and Black women; 2) male mentorship; and 3) masculinity. Because the study was conducted using a non-deficit approach, the findings were analyzed using Helms’ “Black racial identity development model”, critical race theory, and intersectionality; to conceptualize the participants’ experiences though the lens of White privilege, racism, oppression, and racial identity. The study revealed an inequity of empathy among the group of men related to their feelings towards their mothers and fathers. Additionally, then men’s feelings towards their mothers had a larger impact compared to their fathers on their perceptions of Black woman and how they build romantic relationships. This study is significant because it is the first study to simultaneously explore single Black mother homes and Black men and romantic relationships. Additionally, the study is significant because it provides rich insight about this specific topic and other features of the Black experience along with culturally relevant interventions and implications for counselors and counselor educators.




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