Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Stepfamilies will make up over one-half of all families in the United States by the year 2000. Family therapy theories are based on norms for nuclear families which may not fit for stepfamilies. Stepfamilies usually have more complex structures and issues due to the additional number of members. Stepfamilies need to develop their own norms, norms which reflect the complexities of stepfamilies. Most of the literature on stepfamilies has been written in the last 10 years. It suggests that there are five basic issues which stepfamilies need to address. This paper explores three of those issues: 1) Defining the role of stepparent, 2) Addressing grief issues around divorce, and 3) Building a quality coparenting relationship. This study is exploratory and qualitative. The stepfamily couples, themselves, inform the research. Results indicate that the three issues explored are important for stepfamilies to address, and that having a group in which to address stepfamily issues is helpful.


SC 11.MSW.1993.Christian.C

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