Social Support in Stepfamily Worlds
Part One: Stepfamilies, Stepfathers, and Communicating Support
← xii | 1 → • PART ONE •
Stepfamilies, Stepfathers, and Communicating Support
In 1959, psychologist and sociologist Hess and Handel, published a now famous book, Family Worlds, a description of “typical” everyday family life. They studied “normal” families in the Chicago area and explored psychological and sociological aspects of these families. They describe in detail the behaviors, messages, and perceptions of multiple family members (adults and children). Their analysis centered on five challenges they viewed as common to typical family life. These challenges transcended both time and family structure and included (1) managing autonomy and connectedness, (2) synchronizing images of one another, (3) authoring family themes, (4) defining boundaries around and within the family, and (5) dealing with biosocial realities. The primary means at the disposal of family members to address these challenges is communication.
Family Worlds (Hess & Handel, 1959) gained its prominence as an influential research study through its thoughtful analysis woven into provocative description. In the five decades since Hess and Handel’s publication, however, the “typical” American family has changed (Casper & Bianchi, 2002; Coontz, 2004). Family historian Stephanie Coontz (2005), argues that families continue to experience unprecedented transformation. She and others assert that marriage has ceased to serve as the primary socially prescribed method for organizing sexual conduct, economic production, gender role division, and child rearing. Instead, affectionate bonding (the “soul mate” model of marriage) has become the primary criteria for long-term adult couple formation. Others point out that decreased family size, increased...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.