ERIC Number: ED400121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Adolescent Adjustment in Stepfamilies: Structural or Process Problem?
Using Bronfenbrenner's ecological model of human development, this study tested the hypothesis that family processes contribute more to adolescent adjustment than does family structure. Subjects for the study were 234 adolescents between 12 and 16 years old living in a stepfamily on a regular basis. This sample is a sub-sample of a representative provincial survey (n=3,205) with adolescents from intact families (n=2,048), joint custodies (n=111), and others not considered in future analysis (n=22) were also a part of the survey. A mailed questionnaire available in French and English was completed by the adolescents. Findings indicated that the mean anxiety score was higher than other adjustment components and that 18.3 percent of the adolescents had made a suicide attempt. Girls had a lower personal well-being score and a higher anxiety score than did boys. Younger adolescents showed fewer behavior problems than did older adolescents. Adolescents in stepfamilies estimated quite positively the quality of their family environment. They estimated the quality of their sibling relationship less positively than the quality of the relationship with their parents. Younger adolescents had lower decisional autonomy than did older adolescents. The quality of the family environment was related to adolescents' adjustment; however, there was no relationship between adolescents' decisional autonomy and adjustment. The quality of the relationship with the each parent individually was associated with adjustment, while the quality of the relationship with siblings was associated with personal well-being. Adolescents from intact families showed the lowest adjustment difficulties, with adolescents in joint custody rating second, adolescents in stepfamilies rating third, and adolescents living in single families, fourth. Family climate predicted 27 percent of the variance in adolescent adjustment. (KDFB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).; Ministry of Education, Quebec (Canada).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada