Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter Twelve. Concluding Thoughts on Support in Stepfamilies


← 150 | 151 → • CHAPTER TWELVE •

Concluding Thoughts on Support in Stepfamilies

In this final chapter, I return to the impetus for this study, which is the consistent finding that, on average, stepchildren do worse academically, emotionally, and behaviorally than their counterparts in biological families (Amato, 2001; Coleman et al., 2000) and that family processes (e.g., communication, social support, conflict) most likely drive these outcomes (e.g., Adamsons et al., 2007; Hofferth, 2006; Lansford et al., 2001). Before expounding on this idea, I first discuss five issues related to the interpretation of the findings reported in this volume. I then zoom out and suggest three propositions about stepfather-stepson communication and suggest how they may correspond to youth outcomes in stepfamilies.

Interpreting Findings

This study adds a collection of case studies and a descriptive base of stepfather-stepson supportive communication which augment existing literature on stepfamily systems, the role of a stepfather, and how social support functions in the context of six stepfamilies. The analysis and findings should be interpreted with a good understanding of what was done with whom. Yet the descriptive base provided in these cases helps add to what is already known about stepfamilies in aggregate and, moreover, sheds light on interaction that occurs within stepfamily systems. Researchers and practitioners have long recognized that stepfamilies do not operate on a nuclear family model (Pasley et al., 1996), but few studies have elucidated what a stepfamily model might look like. Because of the detailed descriptions...

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.