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Stepfather-Stepson Communication

Social Support in Stepfamily Worlds


Jonathan Pettigrew

This book offers a novel analysis of communication in stepfather-stepson relationships and is one of the first to examine the ways stepfathers communicate and to integrate the perspectives of adolescents into research on stepfamily communication. In order to understand the complex dynamics of stepfamilies, Jonathan Pettigrew presents six case studies of different families. They are written as engaging narratives – including interviews – that offer flavorful accounts of family members and their relationships with each other. Pettigrew then looks across cases to identify, describe, and examine patterns of stepfather support. This book builds upon current understandings of stepfamily life by providing a descriptive and heuristic model of supportive stepfather-stepson communication, making it valuable for those who study and work with families.
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Series Editor’s Preface


Stepfather-Stepson Communication: Social Support in Stepfamily Worlds

Thomas J. SochaOld Dominion University

Stepfather-Stepson Communication: Social Support in Stepfamily Worlds by Jonathan Pettigrew offers an important and much-needed addition to the story of communication as it is taking place in the ever-evolving lives of contemporary families. Since the early days of family communication studies in the 1980s, family communication scholars have labored to develop inclusive ways to think about and conceptualize “families.” And, most writers of family communication textbooks, for example, have created definitions of “family” using inclusive language and often lengthy prose to create a big tent. But, to date, we have not yet fully heard the voices of all family members. So, for all those who study, teach, and live family communication, this volume breaks new ground and offers us a better understanding of the rich discursive details of the generational voices of male family members labeled as “step-” as they attempt to manage the complexities, challenges, and opportunities of these important family relationships. Professor Pettigrew paints a compelling portrait of the current state of conceptualizing communication in “step- father/son” relationships that not only will inform contemporary societal discursive struggles with meanings of familial terms, but will become a much-cited work in the future.

Like this volume, the book series, Lifespan Communication: Children, Families, and Aging invites communication scholars to view communication through a panoramic lens—from first words to final conversations—a comprehensive communication vista that brings all children, adolescents,...

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