Adler-Baeder, F. (2006). What do we know about the physical abuse of stepchildren? A review of the literature. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 44(3/4), 67- 81.
Reviews 11 studies available at the time. Findings are critical of the literature given the following facts: (a) most studies have small sample; (b) most aggregate a household level without noting whether the perpetrator is a stepparent, parent, sibling, etc.; and (c) use of low comparison population estimate, leaving questions about comparative risk. Of the studies 6 concluded that stepchildren are disproportionately represented as victims of abuse in both Canada and the U.S; 3 did not find this, but did find low socioeconomic status was a mediating variable. Others found that severe and mild violence were reported more in stepfamilies than in bio-families. Yet, mild violence was more often in bio-father families, and severe violence was more in bio-mother families than stepfamilies. Other studies revealed that abuse by a stepparent did not predict hospitalization (signifying the most severe form) and that bio-parents were more likely to commit this type of abuse.
Adler-Baeder, F., Russell, C., Kerpelman, J., Pittman, J., Ketring, S., Smith, T., Lucier-Greer, M., Bradford, A., & Stringer, K. (2010). Thriving in stepfamilies: Exploring competence and well-being among African American youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46, 396-398.
African American adolescents from community and school-based samples were assessed for depression/distress, self-esteem, and conflict management skills. Results were analyzed by family structure comparing youth from two-parent nuclear families to those in stepfamilies. No significant differences were found between participants based on family structure type on measures of well-being and competence as assessed by the three measures in this study.
Amato, P. R., & Kane, J. B. (2011). Parents' marital distress, divorce, and remarriage: Links with daughters' early family formation transitions. Journal of Family Issues, 32, 1073-1103.
Using responses from 2,461 young women from the Add Health Study, the effects of parents' marital status and relationship distress on daughters' early family formation transitions (marriages, marital childbirth, cohabitation, nonmarital childbirth) were examined. Findings were that both divorce and remarriage increased the probability that daughters will cohabit or have nonmarital births; continuously married parents act as barrier to nonmarital birth and cohabitation even when the marital relationships is distressed. Findings support the modeling and escape from stress perspectives, because daughters in distressed stepfamilies were most likely to cohabit and have nonmarital births.
Barrett, A. E., & Turner, R.J. (2005). Family structure and mental health: The mediating effects of socioeconomic status, family process, and social stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46, 156-169.
Data from 1,751 individuals (approximately 25% Cuban, 25% other Caribbean basin Hispanic, 25% African American, and 25% non-Hispanic White) from a south Florida community interviewed 1998-2000 (ages 18 to 23) were used to examine family structure and mental health. Compared to African Americans, non-Cuban Hispanics reported living in a stepfamily more. After controlling for gender and ethnicity, those reared in stepfamilies reported more depressive symptoms than those from intact, two-parent families. Exposure to stress exacerbates this relationship for those in stepfamilies and single- parent families, accounting for nearly 2/3s of the observed symptoms in individuals from stepfamilies.
Barrett, A. E., & Turner, R. J. (2006). Family structure and substance use problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Examining explanations for the relationship. Addiction, 101, 109-120.
Data from face-to-face interviews with 1,760 young adults in South Florida (25% Cuban, 25% other Caribbean basin Hispanic, 25% African American, and 25% non-Hispanic white) were used to examine the relationship between family structure and substance abuse in adolescence and early adulthood. Four family types included mother-father families, single-parent families, extended single-parent families, and stepfamilies. Compared to extended and single-parent families, mother-father and stepfamilies reported y higher levels of socio-economic status. Compared to mother-father families, substance abuse symptomology did not differ between stepfamilies and extended single-parent families. Adolescents from single-parents reported more symptoms of substance abuse than the other three family types.
Baxter, L. A., Braithwaite, D. O., Kellas, J. K., LeClair-Underberg, C., Normand, E. L., Routsong, T., & Thatcher, M. (2009). Empty ritual: Young-adult stepchildren's perceptions of the remarriage ceremony. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26, 467-487.
Qualitative interviews from 80 young-adult stepchildren were analyzed to examine perspectives on meaning in parents' remarriage events. Participants were 21.7 years old on average and the mean number of years since the parents' remarriage was just over 7 years. The type of ceremony ranged from large traditional "white weddings" to elopement and the level of family and child involvement in the events varied. Results indicate that generally ceremonies involving a moderate number of traditional aspects of a white wedding and those that included greater participation of the children were perceived as more meaningful. Overall respondents struggled to find legitimacy in the marriage and therefore found it less meaningful.
Benson, J. E., & Johnson, M. K. (2009). Adolescent family context and adult identity formation. Journal of Family Issues, 30, 1265-1286.
Data from 13,673 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health)were used to examine the effects of family structure. Data were from Wave 1 (12-17 years) and Wave 3 (18-26 years). Living in a two-parent bio-family was linked with feeling less like an adult compared to all other families, except adoptive two-parent families. Living in a stepfamily was linked with 44% greater likelihood of feeling like an adult. Those from stepfamilies reported the highest conflict and more frequent peer-like communication between parents and adolescents, which was associated with perceived adult identity. Family resources mediated the effect of structure on feeling like an adult.
Booth, A., & King, V. (2009). Adolescents with nonresident fathers: Are daughters more disadvantaged than sons? Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 650-662.
Data from 4,663 adolescents from Wave 1 of Add Health were used to compare sons' and daughters' involvement with nonresident fathers, internalizing and externalizing problems, and academic outcomes. Sons of nonresident fathers had more overnight visits, spent more time playing sports and going to movies, and felt closer to their fathers than daughters. Those with siblings had more involved fathers, especially with overnight visits and talking. Gender of siblings did not affect father involvement. Sons of nonresident fathers also reported being closer to resident mothers than did daughters. Overall, more closeness to fathers was linked with more positive outcomes for both sons and daughters; the effect was strongest for daughters and less internalizing and better grades.
Braithwaite, D., & Baxter, L. A. (2006). "You're my parent but you're not": Dialectical tensions in stepchildren's perceptions about communicating with the nonresidential parent. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 34, 30-48.
An interpretive analysis of 50 transcribed semi-structured, focused interviews of college-aged stepchildren (94% Caucasian) at two large Midwestern universities (33 males; 17 females) revealed two perceived communication contradictions between stepchildren and their respective nonresidential mothers and fathers. One theme involved stepchildren both wanting and not wanting parenting from their respective nonresident parents. The second theme involved the stepchild's wanting and not wanting an open and intimate ongoing dialogue between his/her nonresident mother and/or nonresident father.
Braithwaite, D. O., Toller, P. W., Daas, K. L., Durham, W. T., & Jones, A.C. (2009). Centered but not caught in the middle: Stepchildren's perceptions of dialectical contradictions in the communication of co-parents. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 36, 33-55.
Using data from 8 focus groups with 28 young adult stepchildren (22 in complex stepfamilies), findings reflected that they desired not being in the middle, and identified strategies parents could use to avoid this. They felt caught when parents were too open or too closed with information; did not want to carry messages or be exposed to undesirable information, but did want to be included in information affecting them and not information that was not about them. They also were aware of the power they had as a result of being caught.
Breivik, K., & Olweus, D. (2006). Adolescent's adjustment in four post-divorce family structures: Single mother, stepfather, joint physical custody and single father families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 44(3/4), 99-124.
Contrast analysis on data from a subsample of 2,550 (1,262 girls and 1,288 boys, ages 12- 15) Scandinavian adolescents were used to examine the relationship between family structure and internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Family structures consisted of non-divorced two-parent (2,000 individuals), single-mother families (295 individuals), stepfather families (188 individuals), joint physical custody arrangements (28 individuals), and single-father families (39 individuals). Analyses revealed differences by family structure. Those from single-father families showed higher externalizing behaviors than those from other structures. Those from both single-mother and stepfather families scored higher on both internalizing and externalizing problems than those from non-divorced and joint physical custody arrangements. Those from non-divorced, two-parent structures had grades than any of the other family form.
Brown, S. L. (2006). Family structure transitions and adolescent well-being. Demography, 43, 447-461.
Data from 35,938 children from 1999 National Survey of America's Families were used to examine the relationship between family structure and children's well-being. Results showed that after controlling for children's characteristics, children from cohabiting and remarried stepfamilies exhibited more behavioral and emotional problems than those residing with both bio-parents. Also, both children in married stepfamilies and adolescents with either married or cohabiting stepparents were less engaged in school than those with two-bio parents.
Brown, S. L., & Rinelli, L. N. (2010). Family structure, family process, and adolescent smoking and drinking. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 259-273.
Using data from 13,282 in grades 7-12 from the 1994-1995 Add Health study, showed that those in bio-parent intact families were least likely to smoke and drink and those in cohabiting stepfamilies were most likely with single-mother and married stepfamilies in between. Mothers' socialization against smoking and drinking related to less likelihood and their modeling such behaviors related to more likelihood. Interactions between structure, socialization, modeling, family economics, and race/ethnicity did not affect outcomes.
Broberg, M. (2012). Young children's well-being in Finnish stepfamilies. Early Child Development and Care, 182, 401-415.
Using data from 667 Finnish stepfather families with stepchildren 3, 6, or 8 years old, findings were that those in stepfamilies had more cognitive and psychological problems as reported by mothers than those in nuclear families (N = 900) or single-mother families (N = 700). Child problems in stepfamilies were associated with poor quality relations between SF-SC, spouse's marital relations, and sibling relations. Poor relations with non-resident fathers, less cooperation between bio-parents, and poorer quality relations between children and paternal grandparents were linked with more cognitive problems.
Cartwright, C. (2006). You want to know how it affected me? Young adults' perceptions of the impact of Parental divorce. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 44(3/4), 125-143.
A content analysis of interviews with 40 young adults (ages 18-29, 7 men, 33 women) from New Zealand (27 European descent, 11 Maori or Pacific Islander, 2 Asian descent) were used to examine the perceived impact of parental divorce on children. Results revealed 5 distinct categories: beneficial with no perceived negative impact (5 individuals); perceived negative impact including such things as lack of trust in others, communication difficulties, heightened emotionality, and issues with self-esteem and self-concepts (28 individuals); perceived difficulties with interpersonal romantic relationships (24 individuals); both past and present perceived problems with immediate family members (19 individuals); perceived difficulties involving stepfamily issues including loyalty issues, stepparent personality conflicts, and loss of the relationship with a parent (6 individuals).
Cavanagh, S. E., Schiller, K. S., & Riegle-Crumb, C. (2006). Martial transitions, parenting, and schooling: Exploring the link between family-structure history and adolescents' academic status. Sociology of Education, 79, 329-354.
Data from 4,217 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used to examine the effects of family structure change (experiencing a high number of parental divorces, remarriages, or cohabitations since birth) on academic performance. Results were that about 18% of the participants spent time living in a stepparent family. Increases in parent-adolescent closeness and parental supervision were associated decreases in family instability. Those in unstable families (high numbers of transitions) were less likely to complete Algebra I in 9th grade (family instability continued to affect student outcomes through high school) and more likely to experience high levels of psychological distress.
Collishaw, S., Goodman, R., Pickles, A., & Maughan, B. (2007). Modeling the contribution of changes in family life to time trends in adolescent conduct problems. Social Science & Medicine, 65, 2576-2587.
Comparing 1974, 1986, and 1999 waves of the National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study, and the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Study, the prevalence and impact of changes in family structure on adolescent conduct problems were assessed. Results were that more than twice as many adolescents lived in single-parent families or stepfamilies in 1999 compared with 1974. Fewer stepfamilies were socioeconomic deprived compared with single-parent families, with rates of low income only slightly higher than intact families. In 1999, the odds for high conduct problems associated with living in a stepfamily were lower than in 1974. Also, results show that non-intact families' risk for conduct problems became more pronounced since 1974 compared to intact families.
Crosnoe, R., & Wildsmith, E. (2011). Nonmarital fertility, family struction, and the early chool achievement of young children from different race/ethnic and immigration groups. Applied developmental Science, 15(3), 156-170.
Using data from 12,076 kindergartners from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, examined varies by race/ethnicity and immigration, mothers' fertility and relationship status on children's math scores. Those with unmarried mothers (single and partnered) did the worst, and those with bio-father present or stepparent less so, with parent education attenuating the results and pre-k center care but not Head Start was linked with better scores. During first grade, those with married and unmarried stepfamilies did worst, as did those born to unmarried parents compared to continuously married parents; less true of African Americans, and less true for 3rd-generation+ Latinos, so White may be most affected.
Dunn, J., O'Connor, T. G., & Cheng, H. (2005). Children's responses to conflict between their different parents: Mothers, stepfathers, nonresident fathers, and nonresident stepmothers. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 223-234.
A subsample of the Avon Brothers and Sisters Study of 159 children (53 living with both bio-parents, 48 in stepfather families, 26 in complex stepfamilies, and 32 living in single-mother families) were used to examine children's' responses to parental conflict. Children in stepfather families reported taking their mother's side more during parental arguments. Children in stepfamilies are more likely to side with the bio- parent during parental arguments. The more negative children report their relationship with stepfathers, the more likely they are to be involved with arguments. Children who become involved in parental (including stepparent) conflict scored higher on externalizing and internalizing problems; 36% of the variability of children's externalizing was attributed to frequent involvement in conflict between mothers and nonresident fathers and mothers and stepfathers
Falci, C. (2006). Family structure, closeness to residential and nonresidential parents, and psychological distress in early and middle adolescence. The Sociological Quarterly, 47, 123-146.
Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (n = 1,443) were used to investigate the relationship between family structure (including stepfamilies), parent-adolescent relationships (closeness to either resident or nonresident fathers), and adolescent psychological distress. Adolescent girls in intact and never-married families reported higher closeness to mothers than those in SF. Those in SF reported less closeness to their stepfathers compared to those intact families, yet closer to both stepfathers and nonresident fathers than those in divorced or never-marrieds with nonresident fathers. Adolescents reported similar levels of closeness toward resident and nonresident fathers. Psychological distress did not differ by family types. Those in SF, more closeness to resident or nonresident fathers correlated with less adolescent distress (stronger with resident father relationships).
Fidler, J. A., West, R., van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Jarvis, M. J., & Wardle, J. (2008). Smoking status of step-parents as a risk factor for smoking in adolescence. Addiction, 103, 496-501.
A subset of 650 (64% boys) students from the Health and Behaviour in Teenagers Study (HABITS) who lived in stepfamilies (566 with stepfathers, 34% smoke, 332 with stepmothers, 13% smoke) were studied to determine stepparent's smoking predictors of their smoking habits. Logistic regression analyses revealed that students with just a stepparent or with both a parent and stepparent who smoked were more likely to smoke than those where neither parents of stepparents smoked. Adolescent smoking frequencies do not differ between those with just a stepparent who smoked and those with just a biological parent or both the parent and stepparent smokes. Overall, the greatest percentage of adolescent smokers is found in families where just the stepparent smokes, especially for those who reported living with a stepparent for more than two years.
Foster, E. M., & Kalil, A. (2007). Living arrangements and children's development in low-income White, Black, and Latino families. Child Development, 78, 1657-1674.
Data were part of a larger project begun in 1990; here 2,000 interviews from 1996 were analyzed focusing on White, Black, and Latino children and their mothers to discover associations between living arrangements (two-parent, single parent, blended, and multigenerational) and child development. Few associations were found. Mother only was dominant in Blacks (54), bio-father presence for Whites (51%) and Latinos (44%) across 4 waves; multigenerational more common in Blacks (15%), and stepfamilies more common in whites (24%). Only for Blacks does living arrangement affect children (internalizing only) and only when looking just at family structure. Once other factors included (e.g., mother's mental health, day care, SES), the effect is lost. The association between living arrangements and prosocial behavior and literacy related skills were weak, except that Latino children in blended families showed higher literacy skills than those in mother-only households. For these low-income children, in general, little evidence is found that living arrangements predict child well-being
Ge, X., Natsuaki, M. N., & Conger, R. D. (2006). Trajectories of depressive symptoms and stressful life events among male and female adolescents in divorced and nondivorced families. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 253-273.
Data over 11 years from 550 adolescents from divorced and intact families throughout the rural Midwest were used to examine rates and trajectories of depression. Results showed that for those adolescents whose parents divorced earlier, they more likely had more overall depressive symptoms and more stressful life events throughout their adolescence than peers from nondivorced families. However, girls from both divorced and intact families showed greater depressive symptoms overall than boys from both intact and divorced families. Those from divorced families showed a greater increase in depressive symptoms earlier until the age of 17 (sharper depressive symptomology trajectories) compared to peers from intact families
Gosseline, J. (2010). Individual and family factors related to psychosocial adjustment in stepmother families with adolescents. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 51, 108-123.
Using data from a French-Canadian sample of 39 stepmother families with adolescents, examined the effects of shared and nonshared processes and psychosocial adjustment. Higher father and stepmother's psychological distress and adolescent perceptions of stepmother exclusion were associated with poor adolescent adjustment. Stepfamilies of longer duration had lower adjustment. Stepmothers-stepchildren problems were greater when they did not have full custody. When fathers reported higher adjustment, stepmothers were more dissatisfied and felt less supported. Lower fathers' adjustment was reported in families with greater perceived stepmother and child adjustment.
Gosseline, J., & David, H. (2007). Risk and resilience factors linked with the psychosocial adjustment of adolescents, stepparents and biological parents. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 48, 29-51.
Data from 80 stepfamilies showed that both parents' and stepparents' level of adjustment was linked with adolescents adjustment. Each family member's adjustment is related to how well the other members are coping. Stepfathers who reported poor communication with their stepchild also reported less support from their partner. SP-SC communication is linked to the SP exclusion and problems in that relationship. Not living full-time with the father is linked with more SP exclusion, more triangulation, and more boundary problems-spending more time in mother's home is linked with a more problems with their SP, especially when communication is poor. Conversely, more time spent under the same roof, problematic communication, and older SP are linked to less stepfamily adjustment. SM households had more boundary and relationship issues than SF households. Positive SP-SC communication is linked with more P-C problems. Less time in the stepfamily linked with parents who feel less support from their partners and more dissatisfaction with the stepparent role.
Gunnoe, M. L., & Hetherington, E. M. (2004). Stepchildren's perceptions of noncustodial mothers and noncustodial fathers: Differences in socioemotional involvement and associations with adolescent adjustment problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 18, 555-563.
Data were from the Nonshared Environment and Adolescent Development (NEAD) project of 56 adolescents (31 boys and 25 girls) residing in stepfamilies with contact with noncustodial mothers and 143 adolescents (78 boys and 65 girls) residing in stepfamilies with contact with noncustodial fathers and explored the differences in socioemotional involvement between bio-parents and children. Adolescents perceived greater involvement from noncustodial mothers and the association between perceived social support and adolescent adjustment problems was stronger for noncustodial mothers. The perception of noncustodial mothers' social support was a better predictor of adolescent adjustment problems than was the perceived social support from noncustodial fathers.
Halpern-Meekin, S., & Tach, L. (2008). Heterogeneity in two-parent families and adolescent well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 435-451.
Analyses of a subset of waves I and II of Add Health (n = 1,769) revealed that children in blended and stepfamilies have lower GPAs than those in simple families, which might be accounted for parental characteristics. Shared children in blended families and stepchildren have higher delinquency and depressive scores, and less positive engagement with school tasks and relationships than children from simple families. Results best explained by prior experiences of family instability for stepchildren only.
Heard, H. E., Gorman, B. K., & Kapinus, C. A. (2008). Family structure and self-rated health in adolescence and young adulthood. Population Reservation Policy Review, 27, 773-797.
Effects of family structure on health were examined with waves I and III of Add Health (n = 12,737). Those living in a single-parent or stepfather family, females, and Latinos had poorer health, and effect reduced when parental education and family income are included. Adolescents in step- and single-parent families were most at-risk socioeconomically- live in poorer families with less educated parents than two-parent families. Those in stepfather families talk with their mothers the most but participated in the least shared activities; they experienced a larger drop in depression and a higher increase in self-esteem over time. Those from two-parent homes feel more supported by friends and teachers, have fewer problems, less depression, higher self-esteem, more frequent physical activity, lower BMIs, and less smoking than those in step- or single-parent families. Adolescents with a strong maternal bond, participate in more shared activities, have fewer problems in school, and receive lots of support from friends and teachers report higher health, regardless of structure. Family structure during adolescence did not affect future health ratings.
Henry, C. S., Nichols, J. P., Robinson, L. C., & Neal, R. A. (2005). Parent and stepparent support and psychological control in remarried families and adolescent empathic concern. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 43(3/4), 29-46.
Data from a convenience sample of 72 9th and 10th grade students residing in remarried households (44.4% 9th, 55.6% 10th ; 27 males and 45 females; 73.6% Caucasian, 15.3% Native American, 2.8% Hispanic, 2.8% African American, and 2.8% other) were used to examine the relationship between adolescent empathic concern and parent and stepparent support and control. Parent support positively and parent control negatively related to adolescent empathic concern. Parent support positively and parent and stepparent control negatively related to a female's empathic concern. Both boys and girls who viewed their parents and stepparents as controlling reported lower levels of parent and stepparent support.
Henry, C., Plunkett, S., & Sands, T. (2011). Family structure, parental involvement, and academic motivation in Latino adolescents. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 52, 370-390.
Data were from 594 Latino adolescents (78% 9th grade) from Los Angeles, CA. Mother involvement did not vary by structure. Findings for father involvement were that monitoring was most influential for teens in intact families, academic support for teens in stepfather families, and academic motivation for teens in single-mother families.
Hofferth, S. L. (2006). Residential father family type and child well-being: Investment versus selection. Demography, 43, 53-77.
Using a subsample of 1,977 (36 living with stepmother; 155 living with stepfather) children (3-12 yrs) from the Child Development Supplement of PSID was used to assess differences in achievement, behavioral problems, and parental time between family types. On average stepfather spent about 45% of the child's life with that child. Achievement scores in children with SF (including mother's partner) were lower and behavior problems were higher for children in SF than for those in intact families; differences explained by demographic characteristics for achievement but not for behavior problems. Unmarried bio-fathers, stepfathers, and mothers' partners (12, 9, and 11 hours, respectively) and mothers in SF families (16 hours) spent less time with children than single fathers and intact families (20 hours a week). Nonresident mothers who children lived with SM families spent the least time with children.
Hoffmann, J. P. (2006). Family structure, community context, and adolescent problem behaviors. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 35, 867-880.
Data were from 10,286 adolescents drawn from 1,612 communities as part of the National Educational Longitudinal Study and used to examine the associations between community, family structure, and adolescent problem behavior. Controlling for various factors (e.g., race, income, supervision, school participation), results revealed higher adolescent problem behaviors in all family types compared with bio-families, except father-stepmother families. Only the community variables of percent female head, percent jobless males, and percent poverty affected problem behaviors.
Jenkins, J., Simpson, A., Dunn, J., Rasbash, J., & O'Connor, T. G. (2005). Mutual influence of marital conflict and children's behavior problems: Shared and nonshared family risks. Child Development, 76, 24-39.
Used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children at Wave 1 (50 bio-families, 49 stepfather families, and 45 complex/stepmother families) and Wave 2 (45 bio-families, 44 stepfather families, and 38 complex/stepmother families) to examine marital conflict and children's behaviors within shared and nonshared family environments. Children with more externalizing behaviors increased conflict over children more in stepfather and stepmother/complex families than in bio-families. Over time, parents argued more differentially (one sibling versus another sibling) over siblings in stepfather families more than their stepmother/complex and bio-family counterparts (where siblings are of equal focus during parental arguments). Over time, children in both stepfather and stepmother/complex families were more differentially exposed to partner conflict compared to bio-families.
Jeynes, W. H. (2006). The impact of parental remarriage on children: A meta-analysis. Marriage & Family Review, 40(4), 75-98.
Reports of the findings of 61 studies revealed overarching effects of parental remarriage on academic achievement and psychological well-being in children. Remarriage exerts a downward impact on children's academic achievement and is associated with a heightened risk of psychological distress. Children from remarried families had worse academic achievement (based on grades and standardized tests) and more negative attitudes than those from intact and single-parent families. The number of family transitions was important, as children's whose parents divorced or died and the custodial parent did not remarry had better outcomes.
Jordan, L. C., & Lewis, M. L. (2005). Paternal relationship quality as a protective factor: Preventing alcohol use among African American adolescents. Journal of Black Psychology, 31, 152-171.
A subsample of 1,027 African American adolescents (46% male and 54% female) from Waves 1 (1995) and 2 (1996) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used to examine the affect of the relationship between fathers (or father figures) and their children on drinking behaviors. Adolescents with bio-fathers residing outside the home were more prone to drink (60%) compared to those with bio- fathers (51%) living in the home and those with father figures (including stepfathers) in the home (57%). Father figures were least likely to be involved with adolescents, although nonresident fathers were more involved with them around issues of school, talking about school, and working on school projects than were resident fathers.
Kelly, J. B. (2006). Children's living arrangements following separation and divorce: Insights from empirical and clinical research. Family Process, 46, 35-52.
Based on a review of extant literature regarding living arrangements after divorce, the author concluded that remarriages of both parents lead to a decreased contact between fathers and their children over time. Fathers' remarriages, especially if a child is born in the new union, often decreased paternal commitment to previous children. One-third of the children experiencing parental dating found it to be highly stressful. Early remarriages of either parent, especially the father, were more stressful to children than ones occurring later.
King, V. (2006). The antecedents and consequences of adolescents' relationships with stepfathers and nonresident fathers. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 910-928.
A subsample of 1,149 adolescents (at least 18, with their mother and stepfather and a living nonresident father) from the Add Health study were used to examine adolescents' closeness to their stepfathers and nonresident fathers. Results were that teens were most close with mother (91%), 60% with SF, and 41% with nonresident F; 25% close with both SF and F. Those who are close to stepfathers and nonresident fathers are more likely to be younger, male, closest to their mothers, exhibit the highest well-being, and reside in families with the most happy marriage. Longer time with a stepfather was linked with being close only to the SF versus to both SF and nonresident fathers. Those not close to either SF or F had highest externalizing and internalizing behavior problems; close only SF is almost as beneficial as being close to both fathers, especially if the teen is male.
King, V. (2007). When children have two mothers: Relationships with nonresident mothers, stepmothers, and fathers. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1178-1193.
Using a subsample of 294 adolescents from Wave 1 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, closeness to parents was compared for those living with bio-resident fathers, resident stepmothers, and bio-nonresident mothers. Adolescents were closest to fathers, then stepmothers, and lastly nonresident mothers. Similar closeness with stepmothers and nonresident mothers when there was contact with the latter. Predictors of closeness included time in stepfamily (longer = less close with nonresident mother), being boys, Black teens and immigrants; distance from father associated with less closeness with stepmothers. Closer with resident fathers linked with younger teens, and White or Hispanic teens. Closeness to fathers linked with less internalizing and externalizing problems; closeness to nonresident mothers linked to less internalizing problems; closeness to stepmothers unrelated to problems. No child gender effects.
Kirby, J. B. (2006). From single-parent families to stepfamilies: Is the transition associated with adolescent alcohol initiation? Journal of Family Issues, 27, 685-711.
Data from 1,755 adolescents who lived in single-parent families (939 girls, 816 boys) in Wave 1 of the Add Health Study were used to explore the relationship between alcohol initiation and the transition from single-parent to stepfamily. Results showed that for both sexes who experienced this transition from divorced and girls who experienced the transition from non-divorced single-parents to stepfamilies were more likely to drink than their non-transitional counterparts. Also, boys and girls who made the transition were more likely to begin drinking than those who remained in single-parent families. .
Koerner, S. S., Kenyon, D. B., & Rankin, L. A. (2006). Growing up faster? Post-divorce catalysts in the mother-adolescent relationship. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 45(3/4), 25-41.
Data from 81 adolescents in divorced families (37 girls and 44 boys; 68% White and 18.5% Mexican American) were used to examine mother-adolescent relationships. Results revealed that when mothers disclosed personal issues related to both finances and job experiences more frequently and with greater depth, the adolescents felt older than their peers. Mothers' frequency and depth of disclosures regarding personal issues was associated with adolescents' greater social/dating involvement with peers. Also, younger adolescents had greater social involvement/dating with peers when their mother disclosed negative information about the father than did older children.
Longest, K. C., & Shanahan, M. J. (2007). Adolescent work intensity and substance use: The meditational and moderational roles of parenting. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 703-720.
Data from the National Survey of Youth and Religion (N = 3,290) were used to examine the relationship between involvement in work and use of alcohol and marijuana mediated certain parenting behaviors (e.g., monitoring). Results showed that being in a stepfamily was not associated with work intensity or drinking but was associated with marijuana use compared with bio-families. Those with single parents used alcohol and substances more than bio-families. Other findings are noted were not related to family structure.
Magnunson, K., & Berger, L. M. (2009). Family structure states and transitions: Associations with children's well-being during middle childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 575-591.
Data from four waves of the Maternal and Child Supplement of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N = 3,862) were used to examine the relationship between family structure and structure transitions on children's academic achievement and behavior; children were ages 5-7 at Wave 1 and 11-13 at Wave 4. Children's initial achievement and behavior scores did not correspond with later family structure experiences. More time spent in single-parent or social-father homes was associated with increased behavior problems and decreased academic achievement over time. Compared with stable two-bio-parent families, those experiencing a structure transition had higher behavioral problems and poorer achievement, with each additional transition leading to poorer outcomes. Children who transitioned into single-mother homes experienced increased behavior problems but no impact on achievement.
Mandara, J., Rogers, S. Y., & Zinbarg, R. E. (2011). The effects of family structure on African American adolescents' marijuana use. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73, 557-569.
Using data from 1,069 African American adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, findings were that family structure was not linked with marijuana use in females. For young men, being with both bio-parents had less use (single mother-never married = most use, divorced early-never remarried = next most, divorced-remarried = least of three) in less use, as mediated by poverty rate, self-control, and neighborhood quality. Later divorce but not remarried increased use. Effects of early divorce and never-married were stronger on poverty and neighborhood quality than later divorce or stepfamily.
Menning, C. L. (2006). Nonresident fathers' involvement and adolescents' smoking. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 47, 32-46.
Data from two waves of the Add Health Study of 1,932 adolescents (grades 7- 12 in 1994-1995) were used to examine the relationship between nonresident fathers and adolescent smoking. Adolescents who were less involved with their nonresident fathers and those whose nonresident fathers smoked between waves were more likely to start smoking regularly. Increased nonresident father involvement from Waves 1 to 2 reduced the probability of the adolescent smoking regularly at Wave 2. Being in a stepfamily did not affect the results.
Merten, M. J., & Henry, C. S. (2011). Family structure, mother-daughter relationship quality, race and ethnicity, and adolescent girls' health risks. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 52, 164-186.
Using data from wave 1 of Add-Health, comparisons were made among adolescent girls (N = 7,114; 52% with bio-mother/father, 10%). Those in non-bio parent families reported more depression and precocious events (e.g., school dropout, early sexual involvement). Higher quality relationship with mother reduced involvement in precocious events and depression; and African American (AA) and Hispanic daughters experienced more of both outcomes. Compared to Whites, AA daughters living with single-mother served to protect against negative outcomes, as did quality of their relationship-a finding similar to H daughters in single-mother households.
Monahan, K. (2010). Themes of adult sexual abuse survivors in later life: An initial exploration. Clinical Journal of Social Work, 38, 361-369.
Reported themes from interviews with 8 women in clinical practice settings ages 56-69, all seeking treatment for dealing with a dying or terminally ill parent and who were sexually abused by a brother or stepbrother. Although 3 abusers were stepbrothers and 1 a half-brother, no analysis addresses differential themes by relationship status of brothers.
MonÉ, J. G., & Biringen, Z. (2006). Perceived parent-child alienation: Empirical assessment of parent-child relationships with divorced and intact families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 45(3/4), 131-156.
Data from a convenience sample of 227 undergraduates students (more han 25% had divorced parents) were used to examine perceived parent-child alienation. For those whose parents divorced, over time when both parents were perceived as engaging in conflict, the child felt more alienation from the mother. For fathers, time since divorce, bring older at the time of divorce, and the higher the perceived continued intraparental conflict, the more the child felt alienated from the father.
Monserud, M. A., & Elder, G. H. (2011). Household structure and children's educational attainment: A perspective on coresidence with grandparents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73, 981-1000.
Data from Wave 1 and 4 of Add Health were used to examine the influence of family structure, economic resource, and parenting on adolescent's educational attainment (graduating from high school, enrolling in college, completing college). Regarding stepfamilies, only girls in stepfather families were at greater risk of not completing high school and enrolling in college. Socioeconomic resources explained the effects more than parenting, but did not influence the effect of living in stepfamily during adolescence on college enrollment.
Ono, H. (2011). Family types, direct money transfers from parents, and school enrollment among youth. Marriage & Family Review, 47(1), 45-71.
Data were from 3,615 youth from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and examined their effects of monetary resources on later school enrollment. Comparisons were between those in bio-first marriage (n = 2,653), step-first marriages (n = 314), bio-remarriage (n = 211), and step-remarriages (n = 437). Bio-first received the most money and most likely to be enrolled in school; stepchildren in remarried families least likely to be enrolled, but the likelihood of enrollment increased with resources given.
Planitz, J. M., Feeney, J. A., & Peterson, C. C. (2009). Attachment patterns of young adults in stepfamilies and biological families. Journal of Family Studies, 15, 67-81.
Participants under 25 years took part in three cross-sectional studies (n = 368, 161 in stepfamilies) to assess attachment patterns. More from bio-families (46%) classified themselves as more secure than in stepfamilies. Those in bio-families reported more positive models of other, whereas no effects for family type on self, avoidance, or anxiety. Stepfamilies reported that bio-mothers avoided conflict less, were less satisfied in their relationships and had weaker attachment with bio-fathers, stronger attachments to romantic partners, and more negative models of others than those in bio-families.
Plunkett, S. W., Williams, S. M., Schock, A. M., & Sands, T. (2007). Parenting and adolescent self-esteem in Latino intact families, stepfather families, and single-mother families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 47(3/4), 1-20.
The impact on self-esteem for 807 adolescents from Latino intact, single-mother, and stepfather families of parenting behaviors (support, monitoring, punitiveness, and psychological control) was assessed. Monitoring was positively related to self-esteem. Punitiveness was only related to self-esteem in intact families. Supportive behavior (positive) and psychological control (negative) were explained the variance in self-esteem for all family types.
Ram, B., & Hou, F. (2005). Sex differences in the effects of family structure on children's aggressive behavior. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 36, 329-341.
Data from approximately 3,000 children in Wave 1 (1994-1995) of Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) were used to examine behavioral differences between boys and girls experiencing a variety of family changes and subsequent living arrangements at Wave 3 (1998-1999). After controlling for ineffective parenting and maternal depression, girls showed increased indirect aggression at a rate of 1.5 times higher than boys when both were living with a lone parent and 2.5 times higher than boys when both were living with a stepparent.
Robitaille, C., & Saint-Jacques, M. (2009). Social stigma and the situation of young people in lesbian and gay stepfamilies. Journal of Homosexuality, 56, 421-442.
Young people (n = 11, 9 females, Caucasian) with same-sex parents (8 with lesbian mother) were interviewed about social stigma. Most said they encountered social stigmatization, mostly from living with a lesbian or gay parent than from being in a stepfamily. None felt judged or belittled, but hearing that homosexuality was abnormal, immoral, and unnatural, being raised that way might negatively affect development, and that they would become homosexuals. Indirect and direct stigmatization was reported, especially in school through homophobic discourse. Some internalized these negative ideas, as they started to see self and their families as abnormal. Reported various fears-fear of being judged, called lesbian or gay, rejected by their peers-which affected the family. They had confusion over how to disclose their family structure; most began to speak openly over time, based on greater social tolerance and their ability to stand up to others. They learned not to overdramatize situations, take negative comments more lightly or laugh about them, choosing friends carefully, and confronting those who made hurtful comments.
Roe, A., Bridges, L., Dunn, J., & O'Connor, T. G. (2006). Young children's representations of their families: A longitudinal follow-up study of family drawings by children living in different family settings. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30, 529-536.
Drawings of the families (parents and siblings) from 166 children (mean age = 7) in bio (44), stepfather (45), single-parent (40), and complex stepfamilies (37) were analyzed over two years (reduced to 119) to determine the effects of member exclusion and grouping on children's adjustment. Children from single-parent and stepfamilies excluded more; half- and stepsiblings excluded more; non-resident excluded more. Children with 2 bio-parents grouped members together more. Exclusion of resident siblings or bio-father and drawing mother alone was associated with higher externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors.
Ruschena, E., Prior, M., Sanson, A., & Smart, D. (2005). A longitudinal study of adolescent adjustment following family transitions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 353-363.
Data from 1983-2000 Australian Temperament Project (ATP) explored various outcomes of 151 individuals (including parents and their adolescents) who experienced familial transitions, including separation, divorce, and or remarriage of the parents. Compared to parents who were married, parents who divorced, separated, or remarried indicated greater conflict with their adolescents. Their adolescents reported lower quality relationships with parents, including less communication and trust and more alienation.
Ryan, S., Franzetta, K., Schelar, E., & Manlove, J. (2009). Family structure history: Links to relationship formation behaviors in young adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 935-953.
Used data from Waves 1-3 of the Add Health Study (1994-2002) to examine how family structure histories, including multiple transitions, timing, and duration of transitions affected young adults relationship formation behaviors. By age 20, 5% had married, and 17% had cohabited but not married, with women more likely to do both. One third had family structure transitions through adolescence. More transitions or living with a stable single mother were associated with increased cohabitation, and mother's remarriage was linked with increased likelihood of marriage by age 20. Odds of cohabiting compared to marrying were greater for those who reported the dissolution of a mother's remarriage or life with a single mother. Overall, ever living in a stepfamily increased the odds of early marriage.
Saint-Jacques, M. C., Cloutier, R., Pauzé, R., Simard, M., Gagné, M. H., & Poulin, A. (2006). The impact of serial transitions on behavioral and psychological problems among children in child protection services. Child Welfare, 85, 941-964.
Data from 741 children (143 in stepfamilies-45 first-time stepfamilies and 96 second or higher-order stepfamilies, 198 with both bio- or adoptive parents, and 400 in single-parent homes) were used to investigate the relationship between serial transitions and both behavioral and psychological problems. Children from intact families exhibited fewer internalized and externalized behavioral problems than children from second or high-order stepfamilies, but not first-time stepfamilies. The number of times a child experiences familial transitions explained 39% and 30% of the variance in externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems, respectively.
Samm, A., Tooding, L., Sisask, M., Kolves, K., Aasvee, K., & Varnik, A. (2010). Suicidal thoughts and depressive feeling amongst Estonian schoolchildren: Effects of family relationship and family structure. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 19, 457-468.
Data were from 4,389 children (11, 13, and 15) from the Health Behaviours in School-aged Children, a cross-national study in 2005-2006. Responses were grouped into suicidal thoughts with/without depressive feelings, depressive feeling, and neither. Girls expressed more of both, and both girls and boys in stepparent families showed suicidal thoughts more frequently than those in single-parent families. As expected those who perceived satisfaction with the quality of family relations had lowest depressive feelings and suicidal thoughts.
Schenck, C. E., Braver, S. L., Wolchik, S. A., Seanz, D., Cookston, J., & Fabricus, W. V. (2009). Relations between mattering to step- and non-resident fathers and adolescent mental health. Fathering, 7, 70-90.
Adolescents (n=133, 48% Hispanic) and their mothers, stepfathers, and 7th grade teachers were studied to examine the relationship between mattering to fathers, measured as how important they feel to each parent, and their mental health. Mexican-American adolescents reported mattering less to their parents than Whites and those in cohabiting families reported mattering less to nonresident fathers than those with married parents. Also, mattering to mother was correlated positively with mattering to stepfathers but mattering to nonresident fathers was not related to mattering to mother or stepfather. Mattering to nonresident father was linked with less internalizing problems from mother, child, and teacher reports. Mattering to stepfathers was linked with less internalizing problems, but only for child reports. Mattering to nonresident fathers failed to affect externalizing problems, whereas mattering to stepfathers was linked with less externalizing problems from stepfather and child reports.
Schwartz, S. J., & Finley, G. E. (2006). Father involvement, nurturant fathering, and young adult psychosocial functioning: Differences among adoptive, adoptive stepfathers, and nonadoptive stepfamilies. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 712-731.
A sample of 168 college men from three different families-adoptive, adoptive stepfamilies, and nonadoptive families-were used to investigate differences in father nurturance and involvement, and effects on young adult psychosocial functioning. Adoptive fathers were rated more nurturant than nonadoptive stepfathers. Adoptive stepfathers also displayed more involvement and mentoring than nonadoptive stepfathers. As a group, adoptive fathers and adoptive stepfathers were similar and rated higher on nurturance and involvement than nonadoptive stepfathers. High levels of nurturant and expressive father involvement were associated with high levels of psychosocial functioning in adult children.
Shriner, M., Mullis, R. L., & Schlee, B. M. (2009). The usefulness of social capital theory for understanding the academic improvement of young children in stepfamilies over two points in time. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 50, 445-458.
Data from 300 childrenin stepfamilies (grades K & 5th) from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), and parent social capital, parent resource capital, family socioeconomic status, and race were examined for effects on changes in reading and math. For social capital, improved reading was greater for children whose parents contacted the school, did not attend parent-teacher conferences, and talked regularly to their friends' parents. Visiting the library with parents was linked with greater improvement in math. For parent resources, those whose parents read to them and who read picture books had greater increases in reading, and reading outside of school predicted more improvement in math and reading. Compared to the lowest income group, all other groups improved consistently with each quintile rise in income on both reading and math. Being White and male were associated with greater improvements.
Skevik, A. (2006). ‘Absent fathers' or ‘reorganized families'? Variations in father-child contact after parental break-up in Norway. The Sociological Review, 54, 114-132.
Survey data using Norway's National Insurance register of child maintenance of 584 non-resident fathers were used to examine variations in parent/child contact following parental dissolution. With regard to father/child contact, 23% of fathers reported no contact in the past month, whereas 57% reported seeing the child in the past week. The odds of diminished contact over the previous week was associated with greater distance between them, father's receiving social assistance, mother's repartnering, and parents who never lived together. The odds of weekly contact increased when the child was younger, parents had lived together, formal contract regarding contact existed, parents lived in closer proximity, and mother had not repartnered.
Song, C., Benin, M., & Glick, J. (2012). Dropping out of high school: The effects of family structure and family transitions. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 53, 18-33.
Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (1988, 1990, 1992) with 21,491 8th graders in 1988 and event history analysis, examined the effects of family structure and transitions on dropping out.Those in intact families are least likely to dropout; those from single-mother families are least likely compared with single-father, and both types of single-parents families doing better than stepfamilies; those without bio-P in home more likely to dropout. Also, it is divorce or separation rather than marriage/remarriage/cohabitation that increases risk of dropping out, so the loss of a parent is key rather than introduction of stepparent.
Spitze, G., Ward, R., Deane, G., & Zhuo, Y. (2012). Cross-sibling effects in parent-adult child exchanges of socioemotional support. Research on Aging, 34, 197-221.
Using data from 7,927 adult children in the first wave of the National Survey of Families and Households, giving support to one child was related to giving such support to others (enhancement), and receiving support from one was related to less support from others (compensation). Such support was not dependent of proximity, gender, or relationship status (stepsiblings present). More support is given and received in Black families, but again proximity, gender and relationship status did not influence this.
Stewart, S. D. (2010). The characteristics and well-being of adopted stepchildren. Family Relations, 59, 558-571.
Examined the well-being and characteristics of adopted stepchildren and those in other family structures from a sample of 22,680 children from the National Survey of America's Families (2002). Stepfathers comprised 90% of stepparents with an adopted a stepchild (n = 140). Compared to those from intact two-parent families and non-adopted stepfamilies, adopted stepchildren (0-11 yrs) had more behavioral and emotional problems. This held for those 12 - 17. Boys were just as likely to be adopted as girls. Main caregivers of adopted stepchildren were less likely to have a college degree than intact families but more likely than non-adoptive stepfamilies. Overall, younger children from adopted stepfamilies were most similar to children from intact homes. Older adopted stepchildren most resembled non-adopted stepchildren.
Stoll, B. M., Arnaut, G. L., Fromme, D. K., & Felker-Thayer, J. A. (2005). Adolescents in stepfamilies: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 44(1/2), 177-189.
Using a phenomenological approach, interviews with 15 Caucasian adolescents (ages 9-17) revealed several themes related to family transformations associated with the adolescent's recollections of their parent's divorce and remarriage. Under the overarching three themes of coping with the loss associated with divorce, experiencing a remarriage, and undergoing stepfamily formation, separate subthemes emerged: resignation and suppressing feelings (associated with divorce) and sadness/resentment, powerlessness, confusion and feeling overwhelmed, hopefulness, and appreciation about some changes (associated with the subsequent remarriage and stepfamily formation).
Teachman, J. D. (2008). The living arrangements of children and their educational well-being. Journal of Family Issues, 29, 734-761.
Using data from the 1997 and 1999 waves (n = 45,260) of the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF), the relationship between childhood living arrangements (11% in blended families) and school engagement and extracurricular activity were examined. Compared to married, bio-parents, all other living arrangements are linked to a less school engagement, though living with a stepparent had the least negative effect. Regardless of household composition, those experiencing less family turbulence and have more involved parents-who have few parenting and mental health issues and earn more money-are more engaged in school and participate in more extracurricular activities.
Tillman, K. H. (2007). Family structure pathways and academic disadvantage among adolescents in stepfamilies. Sociological Inquiry, 77, 383-424.
Using data from the Add Health Study of 13,988 adolescents (8,189 in two bio-parents, 1,631 in married stepfather, 357 in married stepmother, 335 in cohabiting stepfather, and 35 in cohabiting stepmother families), family structure and its effects on a child's grades, school-related behavior, and expectations towards college were examined. Those in married stepfather families were more likely to have lower expectations toward college than cohabiting stepfather, single-father, cohabiting stepmother, and two-bio- parent counterparts. Also, children from either a married or cohabiting stepparent family showed lower GPAs than did those in non-widowed, single-parent families and more school-related behavior problems than the two bio-parents.
Tillman, K. H. (2008). "Non-traditional" siblings and the academic outcomes of adolescents. Social Science Research, 37, 88-108.
Respondents (n = 11,036) from Add Health were used to examine effects of family structure on academic outcomes and problem behaviors. Adolescents in stepmother and single-mother families had poorer academic outcomes than those in two bio-parent families, especially for males. Very recent family structure change, which is most common in cohabiting stepfamilies, was not linked with academic outcomes. A complex sibling situation (half or step-siblings), which is most common for married stepfamilies, wa associated with lower GPAs. However, it appears that the presence of non-traditional siblings rather than number of siblings effects academic outcomes. This negative relationship loses strength the longer an adolescent is in that composition. Also, living in a stepfather or single-mother family or having a complex sibling composition are associated with more behavior problems. Youth living in cohabiting stepfather families have the poorest overall academic and behavior problems, regardless of gender or other factors.
Wallerstein, J., & Lewis, J. M. (2007). Sibling outcomes and disparate parenting and stepparenting after divorce: Report from a 10-year longitudinal study. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24, 445-455.
Using 10- and 25-year follow-up data, results from 20 postdivorce families with 55 children interviews assessed disparate parenting and sibling outcomes. Twelve of 16 families with 3 or more sibling had only one child doing OK. Only 3 fathers had a stable relationship with their children-the others experienced a decrease in fathering after divorce, especially after his remarriage. Mothers with multiple children were overwhelmed by the financial and parenting responsibilities, especially after remarriage. Mothers from families with only two siblings did not feel overwhelmed, but fathers had difficulty maintaining visitation or giving equal attention, especially to their adolescent daughters and after the mother's remarriage. Most stepparents responded selectively to their stepchildren, preferring (no pattern) or rejecting (most difficulty with adolescents) one child. Stepmothers had limited engagement and failed to reach out to stepchildren, preferring those who were happily responsive, quickly learned to adapt to rules and got along with other step/siblings. Contact between M and SM often conflicted, with SM influencing the time fathers had with children. SFs took on dominant parenting role, especially with boys; were responsive to SC who reciprocated and had shared interests; also were affectionate or playful with younger SC. Child support, discipline, competitiveness, and aggression created F-SF conflict
Wen, M. (2008). Family structure and children's health and behavior. Journal of Family Issues, 29, 1492-1519.
Data from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) were used to examine the relationship between family structure and children's health and behaviors. Stepfamilies (n = 2,243) were found to be comparable to two-parent families (n = 12,517) in parent-rated health of children, whereas they were more similar to single-parent families (n = 5,907) in limiting health conditions or behavior. Children from stepfamilies or two-parent families had lower risks of having fair or poor health than those from single-parent families. These results are partially explained by socioeconomic status and social capital.
Willetts, M. C., Maroules, N. G. (2005). Parental reports of adolescent well-being: Does marital status matter? Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 43(1-2), 129-148.
Used data from Wave 1 (1999) of the National Survey of America's Families including 842 cohabiting-mother households, 2,057 remarried-mother households, 268 cohabiting-father households, and 898 remarried-father households to examine the adult who knows (MKAs)the most about the targeted child and perceptions of adolescent well-being. MKAs in maternal cohabiting stepfamilies showed lower psychological well-being and poorer adolescent attitudes toward school, more problems with the adolescents, and less involvement by adolescents in extracurricular activities and religious services than those in maternal married stepfamilies. MKAs in remarried bio-father families reported an adolescent living with more relatives and attending more religious activities than in cohabiting bio-father families. MKAs in both maternal cohabiting and married stepfamilies and paternal cohabiting and married stepfamilies who reported high levels of psychological well-being also reported higher adolescent well-being and fewer problems.
Wojtkiewicz, R. A., & Holtzman, M. (2011). Family structure and college graduation: Is the stepparent effect more negative than the single parent effort? Sociological Spectrum, 31, 498-501.
Using data from 11,277 who participated in the National Longitudinal Education Study (NELS, 1988, 1882, and 2000 waves), those in single-mother families were less likely to graduate college than those in two-parent bio-families, and this was explained best via lower parent education and income. Those in stepfamilies were less likely to graduate college in spite for the attendance compared with those in two-parent bio-families, but this was not explained via their lower high school graduation; however, the results were somewhat explained by less parent involvement .
Yu, T., & Adler-Baeder, F. (2007). The intergenerational transmission of relationship quality: The effects of parental remarriage quality on young adults' relationships. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 47, 87-102.
Using a convenience sample of 513 young adult students, examined the effects of parental remarriage on their attitudes and behaviors (neg. interaction, dyadic adjustment, relational standards and beliefs, attitudes toward marriage). Regarding stepfamilies, non-divorced had more positive attitudes toward marriage than divorce/non-remarried and stepfamilies. Also, parents' remarriage quality was more influential on the current relationship of young adults than first-marriage effects.
Yuan, A. S. V. (2009). Sibling relationships and adolescents' mental health. Journal of Family Issues, 30, 1221-1244.
In-home interviews from 3,198 adolescents (sibling-pairs) from the Add Health Study were used to assess mental health, sibling structure, sibling relationship quality, and social characteristics. Sibling structure (full, half, or step) was not related to mental health (depressive symptoms or positive well-being). Spending time with siblings was associated with better mental health outcomes for half and stepsiblings but not for full siblings.
Yuan, A. S. V., & Hamilton, H. A. (2006). Stepfather involvement in adolescent well-being. Do mothers and nonresidential fathers matter? Journal of Family Issues, 27, 1191-1213.
Data from the 1995 Add Health Study were used to examine effects of stepfather involvement on depression and problem behaviors in 1,800 teens, grades 7-12. Close, nonconflictual SF-SC relationship was associated with positive outcomes, but best when teen also had close, nonconflictual M-C relationships. Sharing activities with SF associated with less depression when SF was in house for more years. Involvement with nonresident F did not affect these results.