A Global Perspective on Research, Policy, and Practice


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This new book reviews the most current global research and highlights the challenges, possibilities, and dynamics of stepfamily households. It describes their formation, their experiences, and the factors that help them thrive. International and cultural differences are highlighted throughout along with issues of class, gender, and religion. Nontraditional stepfamilies such as those headed by same-sex families are also explored along with clinical and legal issues. Engagingly written with numerous vignettes and examples, each chapter features objectives, an introduction, boldfaced key terms, summary, list of key terms, discussion questions, exercises, and additional text and web resources. The book concludes with a glossary.

Highlights of coverage include:

  • The history, diversity, and demography of stepfamilies (ch. 1).
  • Frameworks for thinking about stepfamilies (ch. 2).
  • The impact of race and culture on stepfamily dynamics (ch. 3).
  • Stepfamily formation including the role of cohabitation and lone parenting (ch.4).
  • The wellbeing of adults in stepfamilies including resident and nonresident parents (ch.5).
  • Relationships in stepfamilies including those between adults, between adults and children, and between siblings (chs. 6 & 7).
  • Children's wellbeing in stepfamilies, and factors that help explain outcomes (ch. 8).
  • The importance of intergenerational relationships (ch.9).
  • Stepfamilies headed by sex couples; wellbeing, stigma and legal issues (ch. 10).
  • Factors that promote wellbeing in stepfamilies such as communication patterns, rituals, and flexibility (ch.11).
  • Interventions and therapy, and recent legal and policy issues (chs. 12 & 13).
  • New ways of thinking about stepfamily living (ch. 14).
  • Intended as a core advanced undergraduate/beginning graduate text for courses on stepfamilies or as a supplement for courses on divorce, family studies, introduction to the family, and/or marriage and the family taught in human development and family studies, psychology, sociology, and social work, the book also appeals to those who work with stepfamilies in a counseling or legal setting.

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