Comparison of relationship dynamics within stepmother and stepfather families in Ireland
100 - 106
The Irish Journal of Psychology
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Although an increasing proportion of people in Ireland are living in stepfamilies, little research has explored the dynamics within these families. Drawing on data from the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study (9-year-old cohort), this paper aims to compare family processes within stepmother (n=89) and stepfather families (n=295). No stepfathers were primary caregivers to their stepchild(ren), whereas stepmothers tended to assume this role. Stepmothers were less romantically happy than either stepfathers or biological mothers in stepfather families and experienced more interparental conflict than stepfathers. They also had less close and more conflicted relationships with their stepchild(ren) than mothers in stepfather families. These findings are in line with previous research and point to the applicability of international research to stepfamilies in Ireland. The findings suggest that stepmother families may face particular challenges and may benefit from parenting and relationship support.
AuthorsHadfield, K; Nixon, E
- College Publications