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.
See also: CHILD CUSTODY; COMMUNICATION: FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS; CONFLICT: COUPLE RELATIONSHIPS; CONFLICT: FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS; CONFLICT: PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS; DISCIPLINE; DIVORCE: EFFECTS ON CHILDREN; PARENTING STYLES; REMARRIAGE
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MARK A. FINE
JEAN A. MCBRIDE
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