3 minute read

Stepfamilies

Conclusion

Stepfamilies have become an increasingly common feature of the family landscape. Stepparents seem to be less involved with their stepchildren than biological parents are with their children, and the role of the stepparent seems to be less clear than the role of the biological parent. In addition, there is evidence that stepchildren fare somewhat more poorly on most adjustment dimensions than do their counterparts from first-marriage families, although the small magnitude of the differences suggests that a host of other factors play a more prominent role in determining children's wellbeing than the type of family the child lives in. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that the adjustment of stepfamily members is related to beliefs about the stepparent role and the extent to which the stepparent role is clear. However, to be most helpful to stepfamily members, a great deal of additional research is needed on the roles that stepparents play, how these roles affect the wellbeing of stepfamily members, and how a variety of family-related factors (such as family interaction patterns and not just the type of family the child lives in) are related to the adjustment of stepfamily members.


Bibliography

Bray, J. H. (1999). "From Marriage to Remarriage and Beyond: Findings from the Developmental Issues in Stepfamilies Research Project." In Coping with Divorce, Single Parenting, and Remarriage: A Risk and Resiliency Perspective, ed. E. M. Hetherington. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Bumpass, L. L.; Sweet, J. A.; and Cherlin, A. (1991). "The Role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates of Marriage." Journal of Marriage and the Family 52:747–756.

Coleman, M.; Ganong, L.; and Fine, M. (2000). "Reinvestigating Remarriage: Another Decade of Progress." Journal of Marriage and the Family 62:1288–1307.

Fine, M. A.; Coleman, M.; and Ganong, L. H. (1998). "Consistency in Perceptions of the Step-Parent Role among Stepparents, Parents, and Stepchildren." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 15:811–829.

Fine, M. A.; Ganong, L. H.; and Coleman, M. (1999). "A Social Constructionist Multi-Method Approach to Understanding the Stepparent Role." In Coping With Divorce, Single-Parenthood and Remarriage: A Risk and Resiliency Perspective, ed. E. M. Hetherington. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Fine, M. A., and Kurdek, L. A. (1992). "The Adjustment of Adolescents in Stepfather and Stepmother Families." Journal of Marriage and the Family 54:725–736.

Fine, M. A., and Kurdek, L. A. (1994). "Parenting Cognitions in Stepfamilies: Differences Between Parents and Stepparents and Relations to Parenting Satisfaction." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 11:95–112.

Fine, M. A.; Kurdek, L. A.; and Hennigen, L. (1992). "Perceived Self-Competence and Its Relations to Stepfamily Myths and (Step)Parent Role Ambiguity in Adolescents from Stepfather and Stepmother Families." Journal of Family Psychology 6:69–76.

Fine, M. A.; McKenry, P. C.; Donnelly, B. W.; and Voydanoff, P. (1992). "Perceived Adjustment of Parents and Children: Variations by Family Structure, Race, and Gender." Journal of Marriage and the Family 54:118–127.

Fine, M. A.; Voydanoff, P.; and Donnelly, B. W. (1993). "Relations between Parental Control and Warmth and Child Well-Being in Stepfamilies." Journal of Family Psychology 7:222–232.

Ganong, L. H.; Coleman, M.; Fine, M. A.; and Martin, P. (1999). "Stepparents' Affinity-Seeking and Affinity-Maintaining Strategies in Stepfamilies." Journal of Family Issues 20:299–327.

Hetherington, E. M., and Clingempeel, W. G. (1992). "Coping with Marital Transitions: A Family Systems Perspective." Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 57(2–3):Serial no. 227.

Kurdek, L. A., and Fine, M. A. (1991). "Cognitive Correlates of Adjustment for Mothers and Stepfathers in Stepfather Families." Journal of Marriage and the Family 53:565–572.

McBride, J. (2001). Encouraging Words for New Stepmothers. Ft. Collins, CO: CDR Press.

Richards, M.; Hardy, R.; and Wadsworth, M. (1997). "The Effects of Divorce and Separation on Mental Health in a National UK Birth Cohort." Psychological Medicine 27:1121–1128.

Rodgers, B. (1994). "Pathways between Parental Divorce and Adult Depression." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 35:1289–1294.

Steinberg, L.; El-men, J. D.; and Mounts, N. S. (1989). "Authoritative Parenting, Psychological Maturity, and Academic Success among Adolescents." Child Development 60:1424–1436.

U. S. Bureau of the Census (1995). Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1995. 115th edition. Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.

Waldren, T.; Bell, N.; Peek, C.; and Sorell, G. (1990). "Cohesion and Adaptability in Post-Divorce Remarried and First-Married Families: Relationships with Family Stress and Coping Styles." Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 14:13–28.

MARK A. FINE

JEAN A. MCBRIDE

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Theory & Types of FamiliesStepfamilies - Parenting Roles, The Stepparent Role, Clarity Of The Stepparent Role, Adjustment In Stepfamilies, Stepparent Role And Adjustment