Title

Gender differences in adolescents' adjustment in remarried and recoupled families

Date of Award

2003

Availability

Article

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett, Committee Chair

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to examine potential gender differences in adolescent adjustment to parental remarriage and recoupling, and in the quality of their relationships within the stepfamily. Additionally, gender differences in the salience of family relationships for adjustment were examined as well. The variables included the adolescent's self-reported family happiness, the adolescent's report of the quality of the stepparent/adolescent relationship, the adolescent's report of the quality of the custodial parent/adolescent relationship, the stepparent's report of the quality of the stepparent/adolescent relationship, the custodial parent's report of the quality of the stepparent/adolescent's relationship and custodial parent's report of the custodial parent/adolescent relationship measured by the Stepfamily Adjustment Scale (SAS) and the adolescent's self-reported level of anxiety, measured by the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS). The main factors of interest were adolescent gender and stepfamily type (stepfather or stepmother). The study used an archival data set of 298 stepfamilies with adolescents aged 11--20, who lived at least half of the time in a stepfamily.Results of the analyses indicated significant gender differences for anxiety, with girls reporting more anxiety than boys. Biological custodial parents' of boys reported better biological custodial parent/adolescent relationship quality than did custodial parents' of girls. In stepfather families, the quality of the stepparent-stepchild relationship was negatively related to girls' but not to boys' level of anxiety. The adolescents' reports of their relationships with their stepfather and mother were positively related to their level of family happiness. The adolescents' reports of their relationships with their stepmothers were positively related to their level of family happiness, but not to their level of anxiety. Adolescents in stepmother families reported more family happiness, less anxiety, and better stepparent/adolescent relationships than adolescents in stepfather families. Stepfamilies who were receiving counseling reported poorer stepparent/adolescent relationships and less family happiness. The findings and limitations of this study are discussed.

Keywords

Psychology, Social; Psychology, Clinical; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Link to Full Text

http://access.library.miami.edu/login?url=http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:dissertation&res_dat=xri:pqdiss&rft_dat=xri:pqdiss:3096387