Since 1970, the interracial marriage rate has increased by 500 percent (Root, 2001). Despite the growth of interracial marriages in the United States, little is known about the impact of specific life influences in individuals’ perceptions of interracial dating or marriage choices in college students at Southern Adventist University (SAU). Eighty-one SAU students from a lower division Psychology class participated in this study. The relative importance of religion, race, and career on marriage; ethnicity; preferred ethnicity for marriage; parents’ preferred ethnicity for children to marry; ethnicities of people participants grew up around (propinquity); and parental approval of marriage were measured by the Marriage Perceptions Survey in order to see what factors influenced how participants perceived their marriage choices. The results indicated that ethnicity, parental preference, propinquity, religion, and parental approval had an influence on marriage choice perceptions. Yet, the number of participants in a few ethnic categories was not sufficient, so the results are tentative and more research is needed to further understand this topic.
Keywords: ethnicity, marriage, perceptions, Adventist, college students