Stepfamily Relationships

Concurrent Sessions 4

Lawrence Ganong, Nate Stoddard, Caroline Sanner, Luke Russell, Ashton Chapman, Kwangman Ko, Marilyn Coleman, Todd Jensen, Lawrence Ganong, Caroline Sanner, Ashton Chapman, Marilyn Coleman, Todd Jensen, Caroline Sanner, Marilyn Coleman, Lawrence Ganong, Samantha Jones, Sonia Giron, Sarah Killoren, Nicole Campione-Barr, Erin Kramer Holmes, Braquel Egginton, Spencer James, Kevin Shafer, Olivia Landon, Caroline Sanner, Luke Russell, Lawrence Ganong, Marilyn Coleman

New Facilitator: Erin Kramer Holmes (Brian Higginbotham had a medical emergency and is unable to participate.)

4:45 PM
6:00 PM
Location
Pacific Salon 3
Session #
151
Session Type
Lightning Paper
Session Focus
  • Research
Organized By
  • Research & Theory

About the Session

  • 151-01 - Affinity-Seeking in Steprelationships: A Dyadic Analysis
    By Lawrence Ganong, Nate Stoddard, Caroline Sanner, Luke Russell, Ashton Chapman, Kwangman Ko, Marilyn Coleman, Todd Jensen
  • 151-02 - Attachment Style, Parental Gatekeeping, and Stepparents’ Affinity Seeking
    By Lawrence Ganong, Caroline Sanner, Ashton Chapman, Marilyn Coleman, Todd Jensen
  • 151-03 - Shared Children in Stepfamilies
    By Caroline Sanner, Marilyn Coleman, Lawrence Ganong
  • 151-04 - Domain Differentiated Sibling Disclosure Within Stepfamilies
    By Samantha Jones, Sonia Giron, Sarah Killoren, Nicole Campione-Barr
  • 151-05 - Exploring Typologies of (Step)Parent-(Step)Child Relationship Quality and Emerging Adult Relationship Formation Attitudes
    By Erin Kramer Holmes, Braquel Egginton, Spencer James, Kevin Shafer
  • 151-06 - Stepsibling Conflict 
    By Olivia Landon, Caroline Sanner, Luke Russell, Lawrence Ganong, Marilyn Coleman

Abstract(s)

Affinity-Seeking in Steprelationships: A Dyadic Analysis

By Lawrence Ganong, Nate Stoddard, Caroline Sanner, Luke Russell, Ashton Chapman, Kwangman Ko, Marilyn Coleman, Todd Jensen

Family clinicians and researchers speculate that stepparents’ ability to bond with stepchildren may be critical to couple, family, and stepparent-stepchild relationships. Using an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model to analyze data from 238 married stepfamily couples we evaluated how repartnered parents’ and stepparents’ perceptions of stepparents’ affinity-seeking behaviors were associated with their own and their spouse’s marital satisfaction, perceptions of stepparent-stepchild conflict, and stepfamily cohesion. Preliminary results show significant actor effects for parents across all outcomes and two significant partner effects. For stepparents, there were no significant partner effects, but some actor effects. Implications will be discussed.

Objectives

To examine the relations among marital quality, stepparent-stepchild relationship quality, and stepfamily cohesion.To analyze how remarried individuals affect and are affected by their spouses’ experiences in stepfamilies. To explore how direct and indirect effects in stepfamily systems may operate.

Attachment Style, Parental Gatekeeping, and Stepparents’ Affinity Seeking

By Lawrence Ganong, Caroline Sanner, Ashton Chapman, Marilyn Coleman, Todd Jensen

Remarried stepfamilies make up a sizable portion of American families. Family clinicians and researchers suggest that the ability of stepparents to develop close bonds with stepchildren may be critical to the wellbeing of couple relationships as well (Browning & Artlelt, 2010; Ganong, Coleman, Fine, & Martin, 1999). Using Actor-Partner Interdependence Models to analyze dyadic data from 293 remarried stepfamily couples, we evaluated how remarried parents’ gatekeeping and stepparents’ perceptions of their attachment style preferences were associated with their own and their spouse’s perceptions of stepparents’ affinity seeking behaviors. Implications for families, clinicians, and relationship researchers and theorists will be discussed.

Objectives

To examine further the various ways in which stepparents seek to build positive bonds with stepchildren.To explore how remarried individuals affect and are affected by their spouse’s experiences in stepfamilies.To analyze the relative effects of barriers and facilitators of stepparents affinity seeking with stepchildren.

Shared Children in Stepfamilies

By Caroline Sanner, Marilyn Coleman, Lawrence Ganong

Shared children are born into stepfamilies; they live with two biological parents and older half-siblings. Shared children fare worse than other groups of siblings on a variety of outcomes, but it is unknown why. This study used Husserlian descriptive phenomenology to explore the lived experience of growing up with biological parents and older half-siblings. Ten participants were interviewed three times each. Preliminary analyses have revealed themes involving the experience of learning half-siblings are not fully related, learning family secrets, and understanding family communication boundaries. Implications for practitioners and researchers will be discussed.

Objectives

To analyze the themes that characterize shared children’s lived experiences.To demonstrate the utility of descriptive phenomenology in exploring lived experience.To discuss solutions for overcoming the challenges in studying shared children in stepfamilies.  

Domain Differentiated Sibling Disclosure Within Stepfamilies

By Samantha Jones, Sonia Giron, Sarah Killoren, Nicole Campione-Barr

We examined domain-differentiated disclosure to siblings within stepfamilies, and associations between disclosure and relationship positivity. Findings revealed that across all domains, individuals disclose more to their biological sibling compared to their stepsibling. With both biological siblings and stepsiblings, individuals disclosed more about prudential than personal and multifaceted issues. With stepsiblings only, individuals disclosed more about multifaceted than personal issues. Disclosure about both personal and multifaceted issues to one’s biological sibling was positively associated with relationship positivity, while disclosure about prudential issues was negatively associated with relationship positivity. For stepsiblings, only disclosure about personal issues was positively associated with relationship positivity.

Objectives

Compare rates of disclosure to one’s biological sibling and stepsibling.Examine variations in domain-differentiated disclosure to one’s biological sibling and stepsibling.Evaluate the associations between domain-differentiated disclosure and sibling relationship positivity.

Exploring Typologies of (Step)Parent-(Step)Child Relationship Quality and Emerging Adult Relationship Formation Attitudes

By Erin Kramer Holmes, Braquel Egginton, Spencer James, Kevin Shafer

Using latent class analysis we identified six typologies of (step)parent-(step)child relationships between children and their nonresidential, residential, and stepparents. We also tested potential predictors and relationship formation outcomes associated with class membership.  We discovered great variability in experiences that either acknowledge strengths or alert us to potential vulnerabilities. Potential predictors included: stepfamily income; emerging adult race, gender, and education; and co-parenting quality between biological parents. Potential family formation outcomes included: adult attachment, the desire to model the remarriage, attitudes about preparation for close relationships, and perceptions that one’s stepfamily either positively or negatively affected the ability to form close relationships.

Objectives

1. To identify the potential (step)parent-(step)child relationship patterns that form in stepfamilies.2. To identify factors that distinguish between these stepfamily typologies (or may influence the development of these relationships).3. To examine the impact of these different patterns on emerging adult relationship formation attitudes. 

Stepsibling Conflict 

By Olivia Landon, Caroline Sanner, Luke Russell, Lawrence Ganong, Marilyn Coleman

Conflicts with siblings can help children develop skills such as perspective-taking, empathy, negotiation, persuasion, and problem-solving. It is unclear, however, if stepsiblings benefit from conflicts in the same way as biological siblings do. Guided by conflict theory, the purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore the dynamics of stepsibling conflicts. Data collection is ongoing; thus far, nine stepsiblings have been interviewed. Preliminary analysis revealed stepsiblings experience barriers to engaging in conflict, use interpersonal and intrapersonal management strategies, and have various motivations for engaging in or avoiding conflict.

Objectives

To evaluate experiences of conflict between stepsibling relationships and its’ potential harm or benefitsTo demonstrate the utility of grounded theory methods for investigating processes in stepsibling relationshipsTo understand stepsiblings coping or management strategies when conflict does occur

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Conference Session