Fictive Kin Networks among African Americans, Black Caribbeans, and Non-Latino Whites

Robert Taylor, Linda Chatters, Christina J. Cross, Dawne Mouzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Using data from the National Survey of American Life, we investigated the social and demographic correlates of fictive kin network involvement among African Americans, Black Caribbeans, and non-Latino Whites. Specifically, we examined the factors shaping whether respondents have fictive kin, the number of fictive present kin in their networks, and the frequency with which they received support from fictive kin. Overall, 87% of respondents had a fictive kin relationship, the average network size was 7.5, and 61% of participants routinely received fictive kin support. Affective closeness and contact with family, friends, and church members were positively associated with fictive kin relations. Age, region, income, and marital and parental status were related to fictive kin network involvement, though these associations varied by race/ethnicity. Collectively, findings indicate that fictive kin ties extend beyond marginalized communities, and they operate as a means to strengthen family bonds, rather than substitute for family deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-46
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Black Americans
  • West Indians
  • church support
  • extended family
  • friends


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