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Young Geon Koh, Michiko Iwasaki, Ph.D.

Heterosexual Asians in Online Dating: “How important is my partner’s race?”

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With the advent of Internet communications, online dating has become a popular way for individuals to meet (Rosenfeld & Thomas, 2012; Smith & Anderson, 2016). While prior research has analyzed the partner race preferences of heterosexual online daters (e.g., Lewis, 2013), information regarding Asians is sparse (Tsunokai, McGrath, & Kavanagh, 2014). Literature on race and interpersonal relation also extends to the study of racial microaggressions (e.g., Tran & Lee, 2014). Racial microaggressions are subtle forms of racism that insult or denigrate people of color based on their racial minority identities (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004; Sue et al., 2007). It has been found that experienced racial microaggressions may discourage Asians from forming positive relationships with individuals outside of their racial group (e.g., Tran & Lee, 2014). The current study will explore how experienced racial microaggressions may relate to the partner race preferences of heterosexual Asians within the context of online dating. Furthermore, the study will explore how racial identity development (i.e., as it represents living in a White-dominant society; Helms, 1995) may moderate such a relation. Participants will be recruited via convenience sampling (N > 60). Data will be collected from responses to an online dating survey, which will include the People of Color Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (PRIAS; Helms, 1995), the Revised 28-Item Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale (R28REMS; Forrest-Bank, Jenson, & Trecartin, 2015), and a partner race preferences measure. It is hypothesized that racial identity development will moderate in accordance with the theorized interpersonal behaviors of Helms’s (1995) racial identity statuses: Conformity, Dissonance, Immersion/Emersion, and Integrative Awareness.

Keywords: online dating, racial microaggressions, partner race preferences, racial identity

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