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Stepfather-Stepson Communication

Social Support in Stepfamily Worlds

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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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Acknowledgments

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Primarily, I thank the fathers and families who participated in the project; without their willingness to share their stories, insights, and experiences, this book would not be. Thank you, sincerely.

I also recognize those who helped with the conception, development, and production of this research. I am indebted to Professor Michelle Miller-Day for all of her mentorship, support, and encouragement on this project and many others. I also thank Professor Gail G. Whitchurch for exposing me to some of the classic readings in family studies and communication, and, in particular, introducing me to Family Worlds. There are a number of others who inspired, refined, and encouraged the development of this work. Chief among these, I thank Distinguished Professors Alan Booth and Michael Hecht, whose own research contributions and dedication to students serve as stellar role models. I appreciate Jon Nussbaum and Doug Coatsworth, my mentors and colleagues, who pressed me to substantiate every claim as well as distinguish between fact and inference. I also recognize Tom Socha for his tireless advocacy for family research and for his support of this volume as well as the editorial staff at Peter Lang, including Mary Savigar and Sophie Appel. Finally, I thank three others in particular who aided this work: David and Barbara Paden, who opened their sanctuary home as a serene workspace; my brother, David Pettigrew, for his diligent and insightful support of early iterations of my “analysis;” and my beloved wife, Breanne Pettigrew, who motivated me to...

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