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Constructing New Relationships: A Thematic Analysis of Stepmother and Stepchild Co-Construction of Close and Enduring Bonds

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Title: Constructing New Relationships: A Thematic Analysis of Stepmother and Stepchild Co-Construction of Close and Enduring Bonds
Author: Visser, Ayla
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Program: Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Advisor: Kuczynski, Leon
Abstract: Due to heightened rates of divorce and remarriage, blended families are increasing in prevalence. Yet, they remain poorly understood. Scholarship focusing on the stepmother-stepchild relationship within the blended family is especially scarce, as is research focusing on the underlying processes involved in the formation of stepmother-stepchild relationships. This study sought to explore close stepmother-stepchild relationships from the perspective of stepmothers. Thirteen stepmothers of stepchildren aged 8-16 years of age participated in semi-structured interviews and their responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings offer several contributions to the literature on blended families and stepmother-stepchild relationships. These include the ways in which stepmothers understand and experience “closeness” in their relationships with stepchildren, the bidirectional relational processes involved in the creation and maintenance of close stepmother-stepchild relationships, and how these relationships develop over time.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9172
Date: 2015-09
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