Marriage is the foundation of modern society and has historically been present in most civilizations. Marriage is associated with many positive health outcomes and is encouraged across most racial/ethnic groups. According to Sbarra, Law, and Portley (2011), the social institution of marriage has changed much since the 19th century especially in the way it can be terminated. Married African American or Black men are happier, make more money, are less likely to face poverty, and choose healthier behaviors than their counterparts that are divorced (Bachman, Clayton, Glenn, Malone-Colon, & Roberts, 2005). The converse is true for Black women who seem to be the only sub-group not to achieve the universal health and other benefits gained from marriage (Bachman, et al., 2005). This paradox in marital benefits have many implications including lower martial satisfaction and divorce.
In the 21st century, divorce has become commonplace not only in the United States, but in many parts of the world. Franklin and Boddie (2004) reported that within 10 years about 40-50% of American marriages end in divorce. In 2009, the divorce rate in the United States stood at 3.6 per 1,000 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). Divorce, however, is not only a social issue, but it has serious health implications. Divorce has been researched extensively and is considered an adverse event (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). Adverse events such as personal or parental divorce has been linked to many ailments and conditions including substance abuse, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and premature mortality (Sbarra, Law, & Portley, 2011; CDC, 2009).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), the Office of Management and Budget defines African Americans as persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. This definition has been expanded to include respondents such as those who mark Negro, Afro-Caribbean or Nigerian on the 2010 census. African Americans or Blacks make up 14% of the U.S population. Many Blacks are bi-racial or multi-racial. In the census data, this breaks out as 13% identified as Black alone and 1% or 3.1 million people listed as Black in combination with one or other race. Together these two sub-groups total 42 million people (U.S. Census Bureau2010). Obviously, Blacks in the United States come from many ethnicities and cultures. In the 2010 U.S. Census the majority of Blacks or 59% reported being Black and White. Blacks are therefore not a homogeneous people. Therefore for the purposes of this study, all Blacks including those who are Blacks alone, bi-racial or multi-racial will be eligible for inclusion.
Franklin and Boddie (2004) reported that within 10 years about 40-50% of American marriages end in divorce. Blacks are less like to desire and get marriage and more likely to divorce (Bulanda, & Brown, 2007, Cherlin, Cross-Barnet, Burton, & Garrett-Peters,...