1932

Abstract

This paper identifies and elaborates the unique conditions that differentiate stepfamilies from first families and evaluates and critiques the theory and methods used to study stepfamilies. The paper begins with a summary of past and current demographic trends, followed by a discussion of children and their custodial arrangements, the factor that most profoundly distinguishes a stepfamily from a first family. Next, the difficulties associated with stepmother, stepfather, and stepchild positions are reviewed. Certain processes (e.g. commitment, cohesion, communication) are important for the formation and stable maintenance of all family groups. One of these processes, boundary maintenance, is used to illustrate the unique experiences of stepfamilies. The stepfamily as a high risk setting is next discussed. Suggestions that are offered in the literature to explain stepmember vulnerability to abuse are summarized. The paper concludes with a discussion of theory and methods and the progress, problems, and promising directions of this research topic.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.so.14.080188.000325
1988-08-01
2024-06-20
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.so.14.080188.000325
Loading
  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error