Stepfamilies and Resilience

Stepfamilies and Resilience: Executive Summary (do...
01 Jul 2004
doc
Stepfamilies and Resilience: Final Report (doc)
01 Jul 2004
doc

This report describes a study of stepfamilies in which the perspectives on relationships and wellbeing in stepfamilies were obtained from children, parents, stepparents, non-resident parents and teachers. The main aim was to examine and understand the impact of the quality of relationships on factors representing resilience in these families.

It is concluded that the affective quality of relationships in stepfamilies is an important correlate of positive family and child functioning. In particular, attention needs to be paid to the child-stepparent relationship in fostering resilience in stepfamilies. It was also found that the perspectives of children are central to assessing wellbeing at the family and individual level.

Key Results

The children and families participating were positive about their relationships and their strengths, and were remarkably similar in their assessments of relationships. Children, though, rated their own behaviour more adversely than did any of the adults, including teachers.

It was found that the quality and security of children’s relationships with their stepparents and non-resident parents were important in relation to positive outcomes. However, stepparents rated some aspects of their relationships with children less positively than did children.

The child–parent relationship was also important, although it did not appear to play the central role that might be expected.

It was also apparent that children can accumulate parenting figures, to their advantage, rather than balancing them against each other. Positive relationships with one parent were linked with positive relationships with others. Furthermore, children’s perceptions of the nature of family relationships were the most powerfully linked to outcome measures as assessed by them and their parents.

It is concluded that the affective quality of relationships in stepfamilies is an important correlate of positive family and child functioning. In particular, attention needs to be paid to the child–stepparent relationship in fostering resilience in stepfamilies. It was also found that the perspectives of children are central to assessing wellbeing at the family and individual level.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018