ERIC Number: ED262366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
The Remarried Family: Variables Affecting Adjustment to Stepmothering.
Despite the increase in the numbers of remarried families, little research has examined interpersonal relationships within these stepfamilies. Interpersonal and family systems variables which may contribute to stepmothers' satisfaction were examined in 65 part- and full-time stepmothers aged 22-27 and in 65 stepchildren aged 10-16. Eleven instruments were used to determine: (1) the extent to which the stepmother had achieved healthy differentiation from her family of origin; (2) marital satisfaction; (3) the amount of conflict existing between the biological parents; (4) the extent to which the biological father invested the stepmother with parental responsibilites; (5) the degree of other life stress experienced by the stepmother; (6) the amount of conflict in the stepmother-stepchild relationship as perceived by the stepchild; and (7) the stepchild's adjustment to the biological parents' divorce. Results of the multiple regression analyses revealed that the group of predictor variables was significantly related to both indices of adjustment, satisfaction with role, and general well-being. The extent to which the biological father invested the stepmother with parental responsibilities and thereby created a parental unit was the most powerful predictor of stepmother satisfaction. The amount of conflict in the stepmother-stepchild relationship also had a significant effect on satisfaction with the stepmother role. Specific aspects of differentiation from family of origin relating to autonomy, intergenerational boundary definition, and mutuality were found to play a salient role in stepmother's adjustment. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).