An Exploratory Investigation of Adults’ and Children’s Perceptions of their Experiences Living in a Stepmother Family

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dc.contributor.advisor Cartwright, C en
dc.contributor.advisor Seymour, F en Bartle, Adrienne en 2014-03-05T00:09:50Z en 2014 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract This thesis investigates the positive and challenging experiences of living in a stepmother family, from the perspectives of stepmothers, fathers and stepchildren. Grounded in family systems theory and guided by a qualitative methodology, data are obtained from individual, face-to-face semi-structured interviews with members of 17 stepmother families including 17 residential stepmothers, 17 fathers and 18 stepchildren. Using thematic analysis, data are organised into two data sets: experiences perceived as challenging, and experiences perceived as positive. Data are further organised into four overarching themes each of which has three related subthemes. The results indicate that while participants experienced relatively common challenges they also developed strategies and coping skills that helped to counter some of these challenges. Most challenges fell broadly into two time frames: those that occurred predominantly within the initial stages of stepfamily formation; and those that occurred at times throughout the stages of stepfamily development. Common themes included participants’ difficulties adjusting to the changes that living in a stepfamily presented, challenges associated with the stepmother’s authority and dealing with the presence of the biological mother. Main themes that emerged from data analysis of positive experiences related mostly to strategies that encouraged positive trusting relationships and included the importance of communication and support, spending time and sharing experiences together, and positive aspects of the stepmother’s authority. Implications for stepfamily systems and clinical work with stepfamilies are discussed along with future research directions. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title An Exploratory Investigation of Adults’ and Children’s Perceptions of their Experiences Living in a Stepmother Family en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en en
pubs.elements-id 429888 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2014-03-05 en

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