Document Type



The paper presents the results of a survey on the characteristics of black college students’ romantic relationships, including types of relationships, the reasons for beginning and ending relationships and the elements of successful relationships. The anonymous electronic survey was voluntarily completed and included questions that allowed for both qualitative and quantitative assessment. The findings of the study reveal that students, who may be involved in stable and committed relationships, begin relationships for emotional needs and romance but acknowledge that compatible personality traits are the key to successful relationships. They cite cheating, partner abuse, and control as major causes of break-ups. The study suggests that colleges initiate systematic relationship education programs to help students develop healthy relationships and maximize learning.


The data analysis and write up of this paper were made possible, in part, by a generous grant from Fayetteville State University. The evidence used in this study did not emanate from the author’s current institution. The project design and data collection phases were made possible, in part, by a generous fellowship from the United Negro College Fund – Mellon Foundation (UNCF/Mellon.) Much gratitude goes to the survey respondents. It should be noted that the ideas, methods, and views discussed in this paper do not—in any form—reflect those of the organizations acknowledged above; they are solely based on the author’s interpretations.