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Brave New Stepfamilies

Brave New Stepfamilies
Diverse Paths Toward Stepfamily Living

December 2006 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Brave New Stepfamilies is an excellent treatise on today's families....This volume is a welcome addition to the field of family studies, and I highly recommend it."
—Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University

"A thorough, balanced tour de force!"
—Frances Goldscheider, University of Maryland

Brave New Stepfamilies maps the changing landscape of American stepfamilies, taking readers on a tour through the diverse assortment of traditional and not-so-traditional stepfamily forms that have emerged in recent years. Author Susan D. Stewart presents the latest scholarly research on stepfamilies in an accessible way, weaving together predominant theoretical perspectives, findings from research and national surveys, and interviews with stepfamily members.

Key Features:

  • Investigates the social and demographic trends that have irrevocably altered stepfamily life: While most books on stepfamilies focus on divorce and remarriage, this book examines recent trends, such as couples having children and living together outside of marriage, parents sharing custody of children, gay marriage, the aging population, and increasing racial and ethnic diversity, that provide multiple pathways to stepfamily formation.
  • Explores a wide range of living arrangements, caregiving, and intimacy scenarios: This book captures the lived experience of contemporary Americans. Extending across various household settings, this book pays special attention to multihousehold stepfamilies, stepparent adoption, stepfamilies with adult stepchildren, and African American stepfamilies.
  • Provides practical information on the prevalence of stepfamilies in society: Counting the number of stepfamilies in society is difficult; published estimates are sometimes unreliable. This book describes the latest data sources, trends in data collection, and data limitations. In addition, useful information on the legal and practical realities of living as a stepfamily is provided.

Intended Audience:

This is an excellent text for a variety of advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on family, such as Divorce and Remarriage, Stepfamilies, Family Diversity, Gay and Lesbian Families, Aging and the Family, African American Families, and Family Policy, in departments of sociology, human development & family studies, psychology, African American or ethnic studies, and public policy.

1. Brave New Stepfamilies
The Evolution of an Institution  
The Problem of Estimating the Prevalence of Stepfamilies  
2. Understanding and Explaining Stepfamilies
Theoretical Developments in Stepfamily Research  
Biosocial Perspective  
Deficit-Comparison Approaches  
Social Capital  
Family Stress  
Selection Perspective  
Risk-and-Resiliency and Family Processes Perspectives  
Family Systems, Definitions, and Boundaries  
Incomplete Institutionalization  
Family Obligations  
Culture Shock in Stepfamilies  
The Stepfamiliy Cycle  
Comprehensive Models  
3. Stepfamilies Created by Divorce and Remarriage
Stepfamiliy Roles and Relationships  
Stepfamiliy Adjustment and Well-Being  
Other Variables in the Study of the Stepfamily  
4. Stepfamilies Created by Nonmarital Childbearing
Trends in Nonmarital Childbearing  
Self-Perceptions of Stepfamilies Created by Nonmarital Childbearing  
Relationships in Stepfamilies Created by Nonmarital Childbearing  
The Well-Being of Stepfamilies Created by Nonmarital Childbearing  
5. Cohabiting Stepfamilies
Trends in Cohabitation  
The Meaning of Cohabitation to Stepfamily Living  
Relationships in Cohabiting Stepfamilies  
The Well-Being of Cohabiting Stepfamilies  
The Well-Being of Children in Cohabiting Stepfamilies  
6. Multihousehold Stepfamilies
The Tradition of the Household as the Unit of Analysis  
Why Studying Stepfamily Households Doesn't Work  
Conceptualizations of Stepfamilies That Extend Across Households  
Nonresident Stepfamily Relationships  
7. African American Stepfamilies
Family Patterns Among African Americans  
Distinctive Features of African American Stepfamilies  
Stigmatization of African American Stepfamilies  
Relationships in African American Stepfamilies  
The Well-Being of African American Stepfamilies  
8. Stepfamilies With Gay or Lesbian Parents
Defining Stepfamilies With Gay or Lesbian Parents  
Limitations of Previous Research  
A Triple Stigmatized Group  
Institutionalization of Stepfamilies With Gay or Lesbian Parents  
Relationships in Stepfamilies With Gay or Lesbian Parents  
The Well-Being of Stepfamilies With Gay or Lesbian Parents  
9. Stepfamilies With Adult Stepchildren
The Rise of Stepfamilies With Adult Stepchildren  
Relationships in Stepfamilies With Adult Stepchildren  
The Well-Being of Later-Life Stepfamilies  
10. New Stepfamilies in an Old World
Implications for Theory and Research  
Implications for Policy and Practice  

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