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Jackson, Pamela Braboy; Kleiner, Sibyl; Geist, Claudia; & Cebulko, Kara (2011). Conventions of Courtship: Gender and Race Differences in the Significance of Dating Rituals. Journal of Family Issues, 32(5), 629-652. PMCID: PMC3462587


Dating rituals include dating–courtship methods that are regularly enacted. This study explores gender and race differences in the relative importance placed on certain symbolic activities previously identified by the dating literature as constituting such rituals. Using information collected from a racially diverse sample of college students (N = 680), it is found that some traditional gender differences persist, but that these are also cross-cut by racial contrasts. Men, overall, place more emphasis on gifting, as well as sexual activity. Gender differences, however, are significantly greater among African Americans as compared with Whites in the sample studied. African American respondents are also significantly more likely than White respondents to associate meeting the family with a more serious dating relationship. The findings highlight the need for greater efforts to uncover and account for racial differences in dating, relationships, and courtship.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Family Issues


Jackson, Pamela Braboy
Kleiner, Sibyl
Geist, Claudia
Cebulko, Kara