A Qualitative Study of the Relationship Between Latina Daughters-in-Law and Non-Latina White Mothers-in-Law and Its Effect on Their Interracial Marriages

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Summer 2021


This study had eight Latina participants who shared their experiences of the relationship they had with their non-Latina White mothers-in-law and the effect it had on their interracial marriages. This qualitative transcendental phenomenological study provides counselors an understanding of the cultural and background factors that lead these couples to counseling. Significant themes that affected the relationship and marriage were communication, respect, trust, support, expectations, and boundaries. The researcher further reduced these themes and identified one overall theme of cultural relationship expectations as the significant theme affecting the mothers-in-law relationship provided by the interview responses. All the daughters-in-law shared a deficiency in more than four areas of significance creating barriers to the mothers-in-law relationship that affected their marriage. The researcher found that cultural relationship expectations affected the Latina daughters-in-law relationship with their non-Latina White mothers-in-law, and the relationship affected their interracial marriages. Three of the daughters-in-law divorced within three to eight years. Another participant and her husband divorced themselves from the mother-in-law/mother’s toxicity. These four participants were all in a toxic relationship with their mothers-in-law. The study’s divorce rate was 38%, which was lower than the overall interracial divorce rate of 41%. Keywords: Latina, Latinx, confianza, familismo, personalismo, respeto, simpatía


Chester Robinson

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences