Sociologist: Stepfamilies hard to define

Dec 11, 2006

The changing face of the U.S. family is nothing like the Cleavers or the Andersons of television lore, an Iowa State University sociologist said.

An increasing number of U.S. families are stepfamilies, Susan Stewart said, and they're becoming more difficult to define. Stewart explored the changing look and membership of the family in her book, "Brave New Stepfamilies: Diverse Paths Toward Stepfamily Living," published by Sage Publications.

"What is a stepfamily? As social and demographic changes diversified American families in recent times, this seemingly straightforward question has become difficult to answer," she said. "The definition of stepfamily is broader than you think."

Couples having children and not being married, parents sharing custody of children, gay parenting, population aging and increasing racial and ethnic diversity all mean couples and children follow sometimes circuitous routes into stepfamilies.

Eighty percent of the studies she reviewed for her book focused on remarried couples, to the exclusion of other groups of stepfamilies, Stewart said. In contrast, the U.S. Census focuses on households.

"We need to update our concept of a stepfamily. It's more than just remarriage," Stewart said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: How music listening programmes can be easily fooled

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How music listening programmes can be easily fooled

8 hours ago

For well over two decades, researchers have sought to build music listening software that can address the deluge of music growing faster than our Spotify-spoilt appetites. From software that can tell you ...

Nature journal to begin offering double-blind peer review

Feb 23, 2015

Well known and respected journal, Nature, will begin next month offering researchers who submit their work for peer review, the option of having it done via the double-blind method—whereby both submitters and re ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.