Stepfamily Relationships: Development, Dynamics, and Interventions

Studying (and Understanding) StepfamiliesDefining StepfamiliesWhat’s in a Label?Demographics of StepRemarriageStepfamiliesA Note of Caution About the Demographic Data Regarding StepfamiliesChallenges in Studying Close Relationships in StepfamiliesStepfamily Structural TypologiesA Brief History of the Study of StepfamiliesThe “Discovery” of Stepfamilies by Social ScientistsStepfamilies Across TimeA Demographic Turning PointResearch on StepfamiliesSocial Address PhaseGrowing Recognition PhaseA Decade of ProgressTwenty-First CenturyThe Cultural Context of StepfamiliesStepfamilies as Incomplete InstitutionsAbsence of Appropriate TermsLittle Institutional Social SupportNonexistent or Ambiguous Laws and Social PoliciesRelative Absence of NormsStepfamilies as Deviant or Deficit Family Forms Nuclear Family Ideology and StigmaLanguage as StigmatizingStereotypes About StepfamiliesMythsMedia ImagesStepfamilies as Reconstituted Nuclear FamiliesImplications of the Cultural Context of StepfamiliesImplications for Stepfamily MembersImplications for CliniciansImplications for Policy-MakersImplications for ResearchersEpistemic and Nonepistemic ValuesStepfamilies in the Twenty-First CenturyStepfamilies as Adaptive and ResilientPathways to Stepfamily LivingDifferent Pathways to Stepfamily LivingThe Disconnection of Remarriage and StepparentingWhy Do the Pathways Matter?Dissolutions of Previous MarriagesReasons for DivorceParents’ Responses to DivorceOutcomes of DivorceCo-parenting After DivorceAttitudes About Co-parentingCo-parental CommunicationCo-parenting TypologiesNonresidential Father InvolvementMaternal Gatekeeping and Father InvolvementPostdivorce StepfamiliesBereavement as a Precursor to Remarriage/RepartneringYounger Post-Bereavement StepfamiliesSeparation of Never-Married Cohabiting PartnersParental Skills and EffectivenessFathers ’ InvolvementStepfamilies Formed by Never-Married ParentsCourtship in StepfamiliesRemarriage in StepfamiliesDemographics of RemarriageGender and RemarriageAge and RemarriageRacial Differences in RemarriageIncomeEducationReligionPrior Marital StatusParental StatusCohabitation Prior to RemarriageDemographics of Cohabiting RepartnershipsGender and Repartner CohabitationRace and Repartner CohabitationIncome and CohabitationReligion and CohabitationPrior Marital Status and CohabitationParental Status and CohabitationDemographic Differences Between Remarried and Cohabiting Repartnering CouplesYounger CouplesOlder CouplesAlternatives to Remarriage or Repartnered CohabitationMotivations to Remarry or RepartnerBarriers to Remarry or RepartnerCourtship Differences Between First Marriages and RemarriagesAgeMarital or Relational ExperienceChildrenRemarriage Courtship Behaviors/DatingLength of CourtshipDatingGoing OnlinePreparation for RemarriageThe Avoidance HypothesisThe Naivete HypothesisVarious MythsLack of Available ResourcesCouple Dynamics in StepfamiliesBuilding a Couple BondBoundary-Making: ChildrenBoundary-Making: Co-parents/Former PartnersBonding ProcessesMaintaining a Couple BondCommunication and Conflict Management in RemarriagesCouple DynamicsPower and Equity in Remarriage RelationshipsDecision-MakingDivision of Labor in Stepfamily CouplesHandling FinancesChildbearingRelationship Quality and Stability in Remarriages A Seeming ParadoxA Note About the Relationship Quality and Stability of Couples in LongTerm Cohabiting StepfamiliesCouple Instability and Selection FactorsIntrapersonal CharacteristicsSocioeconomic StatusPrior Life ExperiencesInterpersonal Causes for Remarriage InstabilityStepchildrenQuasi-KinBoundary AmbiguityRemarriage and Social SupportRemarriage MarketEvolutionary Explanations for Couple InstabilityWhat Explains Step-Couple Instability and Quality the Best?Older Adults and RemarriagesRemarriages Begun in Later-LifeLong-Term RemarriagesCohabitation Among Older AdultsLAT RelationshipsGay and Lesbian Couples in StepfamiliesPathways to Becoming a Gay or Lesbian StepfamilyBeing a Parent Before Coming OutAdoptingDonor InseminationHiring Surrogate ParentsPlanned GL FamiliesPlanned GL Families Versus GL StepfamiliesGay and Lesbian Couples in StepfamiliesGL Stepparent-Stepchild RelationshipsDynamics of GL StepfamiliesChallenges for Gay and Lesbian StepfamiliesStigmaComing OutStepfamily IssuesNo or Few Legal Obligations and RightsLack of SupportResilience Strategies Among GL StepfamiliesIntentionalityRedefinitionSummaryThe Dynamics of Parenting in StepfamiliesMothers in Stepfamily HouseholdsThe Motherhood Myth/Mandate and Mothers in StepfamiliesMothers Stepping UpRole ConflictsNonresidential MothersFathers in StepfamiliesResidential Fathers in Stepfamily HouseholdsNonresidential Fathers in StepfamiliesNonresidential Fathers’ Relationships After RepartneringFinding a Place in the StepfamilyOlder Parents and Adult Children in StepfamiliesCloseness and ContactCoresidenceSupport and Resource ExchangeCaregivingWhy Are There Differences in Exchanges of Support?The Dynamics of StepparentingDeveloping Stepparent-Stepchild RelationshipsRelationship Development as a Bidirectional ProcessRelationship Development in Interpersonal ContextsDeveloping What Type of Relationship?Patterns of Step-Relationship DevelopmentResidential Stepfathers and StepchildrenStepfathers Developing and Maintaining Roles as FathersStepfathers Developing and Maintaining Relationships as FriendsStepfathers as Quasi-kinStepfathers as Intimate StrangersNonresidential StepfathersStepmothersStepmothers and the Motherhood MandateCoping Strategies and ResponsesYounger Stepparent-Stepchild RelationshipsAdult Stepchildren and Older StepparentsCaregivingExchanges Within Older Step-RelationshipsHorizontal FamiliesEx-Steps: What Happens to Step-Relationships After Divorce or Death?The Role of ParentsEffects of Stepfamily Living on ChildrenFamily Structure ComparisonsGender Differences in OutcomesLong-Term Effects on StepchildrenChildren in Cohabiting StepfamiliesThe Rest of the StoryTheoretical Explanations for Stepparent Effects on StepchildrenStress ModelsStructural Changes and Family InstabilityEconomic StressorsLack of Social Support and StigmaFamily Process EffectsParenting and Stepparenting BehaviorsStepparent Involvement ModelsQuality of Parent-Child and Stepparent-Stepchild RelationshipsOther Family RelationshipsSelection EffectsChild Abuse in StepfamiliesEvolutionary Theory and Child Abuse in StepfamiliesOther Theories About Stepchild Abuse and NeglectSiblings, Half-Siblings, and StepsiblingsFamily ComplexityWho Are Half- and Stepsiblings?Theoretical Perspectives on Children’s Sibling Relationships in StepfamiliesParental Resources and InvestmentsStress Due to Sibling StructureSelection EffectsSiblings as ResourcesSiblingsHalf-SiblingsHow Well Do Half-Siblings Get along?Half-Sibling Effects on Other ChildrenStepsiblingsGrandparents and StepgrandparentsLonger Life SpansFewer ChildrenDissolutions and Re-partneringGrandparents in StepfamiliesDivorce and GrandparentsCustodyGenderGrandparents’ DivorceGrandparents’ RemarriageDeath of an Adult Child or Child-in-Law and GrandparentsRemarriage and GrandparentsBridges or Walls?StepgrandparentsLong-Term StepgrandparentsLater-Life StepgrandparenthoodSkip-Generation StepgrandparentsThe Role of Parents: Modeling and GatekeepingInherited StepgrandparenthoodResearch on Stepgrandparents and StepgrandchildrenFormer StepgrandparentsClinical Perspectives on Stepfamily DynamicsClinical PerspectivesStepfamily CharacteristicsEntering StepfamiliesTenet 1. Stepfamilies Begin After Many Losses and ChangesTenet 2. Children and Adults Come with Expectations from Previous FamiliesTenet 3. Stepfamilies Often Have Unrealistic ExpectationsStructural ComplexityTenet 4. Stepfamilies Are More Structurally Complex Than Other Family FormsTenet 5. Children Often Are Members of Two HouseholdsTenet 6. Children’s Parent Is Elsewhere in Actuality or in MemoryTenet 7. Co-parents of Children in the Stepfamily Are Part of the StepfamilyVariability in Relational Histories, Individual Life Courses, and Interpersonal BondsTenet 8. Stepfamily Members Have Different Family HistoriesTenet 9. Parent-Child Bonds Are Older Than Adult Partner (Spousal)Tenet 10. Individual, Marital, and Family Life Cycles Are More Likely to be IncongruentCultural ContextsTenet 11. Stepfamilies Are Not Well Supported by SocietyTenet 12. Legal Relationships Between Stepparent and Stepchild Are Ambiguous or NonexistentOther Problems in Stepfamily RelationshipsNuclear Family Ideology and Stepfamily FunctioningAn Example: How the Nuclear Family Model Affects Financial Support of ChildrenClinical Models of Stepfamily Development: The Stepfamily CycleFantasyImmersionAwarenessMobilizationActionContactResolutionStepfamily TasksSummary of Clinicians’ PerspectivesWorking with StepfamiliesLearning About Stepfamily Dynamics Stepfamily Education ProgramsWhat Is Taught?When Are Stepfamily Educational Programs Offered?How Effective Are These Programs at Changing Attitudes, Cognitions, and Behaviors?World Wide WebSelf-Help: ReadingBooks, Magazine, NewspapersSelf-Help GroupsBibliotherapy or BiblioeducationTeaching via Other MediaTeaching Stepfamily DynamicsEntering Stepfamilies: Issues Facing New StepfamiliesLosses and GainsExpectationsStructural ComplexityComplexityAffinity StrategiesIncreasing Reciprocity Toward Affinity BehaviorsLearning Co-parenting SkillsObtaining Financial SkillsVariability in Individual, Relational, and Familial Life CoursesBuilding a Shared StoryCreating Rituals and TraditionsMaintaining Parent-Child BondsStrengthening Couple BondsManaging Differing TimetablesCultural ContextsNormalizing StepfamiliesLearning About Legal IssuesHelping Stepfamily Members Who Lack Skills or KnowledgeCommunication SkillsHelping Individuals CopeValidating FeelingsReducing Feelings of HelplessnessReframing the SituationNext StepsResearch Trends and ChallengesGreater Sophistication in Designing Stepfamily ResearchGreater Understanding of Stepfamily ComplexityStepfamilies May Be Becoming More ComplexMore Theorizing and Theory BuildingGreater Awareness of Values in Stepfamily ResearchOngoing Challenges and Understudied PhenomenaStepfamily Scholarship Has Contributed to Social Sciences
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