Romantic Relationship Intervention Study

Study Description:

Reports of racial discrimination have increased due to people’s xenophobic and sinophobic attitudes, as well as underlying structural inequalities in law enforcement and the health care system (Milner, Franz & Braddock, 2020).  Experiences of racial discrimination are stressful and individuals in a romantic relationship may turn to their partner to receive support (Killian, 2012).  However, in the context of interracial romantic relationships where one partner identifies as White, research shows that experiences of racial discrimination are sometimes dismissed or minimized, potentially furthering the distress of their Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color (BIPOC) partner (Karis, 2003; Lipscomb & Emeka, 2020). 

An intervention, known as relational savoring, posits to increase empathy and perspective taking via focusing on positive relational memories associated with one’s partner (Borelli et al., 2020).

The present study proposes to collect data from 120 White identified individuals in an interracial romantic relationship with a BIPOC partner. It is hypothesized that White identified partners who will participate in a relational savoring task will report increased empathy and perspective taking when their partner experiences a racially discriminatory event, compared to those in the control condition. Response to a racially discriminatory event will be assessed via a vignette, designed to elicit reactions towards partner distress.


Interested individuals will be directed to the Qualtrics survey link that will first ask for participants consent to participate. Upon consent, participants will be directed to the screening survey.

If eligible, participants will be directed to research questionnaires, and then randomly assigned to either the experimental or control mental reflection conditions.

  • Those in the experimental condition will be asked to reflect on a positive emotional experience they have had with their partner (e.g., taking a walk together, sharing a good meal) for the experimental condition. Participants will be asked questions that will help them focus on the experience and reflect on their emotions associated with the memory (e.g., “How did you feel at the time?” and “What thoughts did you have at the time about your partner?”).
  • Those in the control condition will be asked to complete a survey in which they will be guided via a series of questions to reflect on their morning routine (e.g., what time do you usually wake-up in the morning?).
  • Upon completing the assigned mental reflection condition, participants will be asked to read a vignette that mimics a real experience of racial discrimination. Then they will be asked to answer one question designed to elicit potential reactions to their partner’s distress.
  • Following the vignette, participants will complete 2 questionnaires.

Total participation time will last no more than 15 minutes.

Participant Eligibility:

To participate in this study, you will need to meet the following requirements: 

  • At least 18 years old
  • In a current interracial romantic relationship for at least 6 months
  • Self-identify as White.

For study compensation, participants will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to win one of 30 $25.00 Amazon gift cards. At the end of survey portion of the study, participants will automatically be redirected to another Qualtrics survey link where they can enter their email address for the drawing.

Funding will come from the awarded ASU GPSA Jumpstart Grant.


If you would like to participate:

  • View the researcher's letter for the Qualtrics link to see if you are elligible for this study, as well as other details.

For questions and further information, email the researcher:

Updated: 10/04/22