New Stepfamily Research Findings.


Heintz-Martin, V., Le Bourdais, C., & Hamplova, D. (2014). Childbearing among canadian stepfamilies  . Canadian Studies in Population, 41(1-2), 61-77. doi:https://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/csp/article/view/21636

King, V., Thorsen, M. L., & Amato, P. R.Factors associated with positive relationships between stepfathers and adolescent stepchildren. Social Science Research, (0) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.03.010

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Updated List of Divorce & Remarriage Research Listing for 2013


The list of some of the most important research studies related to divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies has been updated for the year 2013.  This is not a complete list, but the major studies that provide new insights into marriage formation, custody, law and so forth.

Similar summaries can be found for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

New results for 2014 are also summarized here.  

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New Articles in the Journal of Child Custody, March 2014


Here are four articles in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Child Custody.  

Di Stefano, G., & Cyr, F. (2014). Child adjustment following parental separation: The role of maternal well-being, parenting quality, and household income. Journal of Child Custody, 11(1), 5-24.  doi:10.1080/15379418.2014.892802

Froyd, D. “., & Cain, D. J. (2014). Toward a humanistic approach to child custody mediation: A delicate balance. Journal of Child Custody, 11(1), 41-60. doi:10.1080/15379418.2014.892803

Garber, B. D. (2014). The chameleon child: Children as actors in the high conflict divorce drama. Journal of Child Custody, 11(1), 25-40. doi:10.1080/15379418.2014.892805

Lennings, C. J., Brummert Lennings, H. I., Bussey, K., & Taylor, A. J. (2014). Family risk assessment: Characteristics of families with child abuse notifications in australia. Journal of Child Custody, 11(1), 61-75. doi:10.1080/15379418.2014.892804

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Reducing Stepmothers’ Stress


Stepparents will tell you that this is a hard and stressful role.  Stepmothers in particular have many challenges.  Although there is much research that supports this finding, there is still relatively little understanding of the mechanisms and factors that contribute to this stress.  And there is even less information about what we can do about it.

Recent work by Danielle Shapiro at the University of Michigan provides some new insights about the parenting stress experienced by stepmothers.  She notes that in general couples with higher quality marriages report less parenting stress and writes, “…this was particularly pronounced for stepparents. In addition, stepparents with traditional gender views reported higher levels of parenting stress…  for stepparents, both nontraditional gender views and high marital quality jointly predicted the greatest protection from parenting stress. In fact, stepparents with both high marital adjustment and nontraditional gender views were indistinguishable in terms of parenting stress from biological parents, while stepparents who were low on one or both of these dimensions experienced substantially more parenting stress.”

Shapiro suggests that programs and treatment programs for stepparents should include attention to gender roles and marital quality as ways to address parental stress.

Shapiro, D. (2014). Stepparents and parenting stress: The roles of gender, marital quality, and views about gender roles. Family Process, 53(1), 97-108. doi:10.1111/famp.12062

More 2014 studies on stepparenting and stepfamilies…..

Doodson, L. J., & Davies, A. P. C. (2014). Different challenges, different well-being: A comparison of psychological well-being across stepmothers and biological mothers and across four categories of stepmothers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 49-63. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.862094

Ganong, L., & Coleman, M. (2014). Responsibility inferences and intergenerational obligations to parents and stepparents: Are Step/Children less obligated when older adults are at fault for their problems? Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 64-81. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.862098

Nuru, A. K., & Wang, T. R. (2014). “She was stomping on everything that we used to think of as a family”: Communication and turning points in cohabiting (step)families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(2), 145-163. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.871957

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Program for Society for Research in Adolescence– SRA, 2014


There are very few presentations about divorce and single-parenthood at the bi-annual meetings of the Society for Research in Adolescence, but here are the four sessions I found listed on their program.

Thursday, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (Event 1-024) Poster Session 02 Governor’s Ballroom, Floor 4 Thursday, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

# 16 Neighborhood Contributions to Positive Parenting and Youth Externalizing Problems in African American Single-Mother Families Jessica Cuellar, Deborah Jones, Stephanie Lane, Rex Forehand, Gene Brody (University of Georgia)

Thursday, 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm (Event 1-058) Poster Session 04 Governor’s Ballroom, Floor 4 Thursday, 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Coping with Parental Divorce: A Qualitative Exploration of Young Adults’ Retrospective Accounts  Marysia Lazinski, Marion Ehrenberg, Ashley Burbidge (University of Victoria)

Thursday, 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm (Event 1-076) Poster Session 05 Governor’s Ballroom, Floor 4 Thursday, 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

# 62 Examining correlates of divorce attitudes: Gender, personality, relationship self-efficacy, and exposure to marital conflict  Dana Krieg (Kenyon College), Claire Greenfield, LeighAnne White, Emily Hage, Zoe Smith

Friday, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (Event 2-024) Poster Session 06 Governor’s Ballroom, Floor 4 Friday, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

# 53 Women like SAHD Ben, but men don’t: Gender differences in emerging adults’ perceptions of family arrangements.  Dana Krieg (Kenyon College), Zoe Smith, Claire Greenfield, LeighAnne White, Emily Hage

 

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Should infants sleep overnight with nonresidential fathers: The debate continues


One of the most complicated and often contentious issues for separating parents is whether or not very young children (under age 3) should spend the night in both households.  On the one hand, many advocates of continued father involvement encourage dads to stay involved and some of these dads want to keep their children overnight.  However, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests that young children’s well-being may be adversely affected by frequent overnight stays for young children.

Samantha Tornello and colleagues (2013) published some important new evidence that suggests that frequent overnight stays by infants and toddlers with their non-reseidential fathers can contribute to insecure attachments.  (Note:  Attachment has been found to be a strong predictor of child and adult psychological adjustment and seems to be the foundation of positive relationships with others (See Bretherton, et al., 2011).  

In February 2014, Paul Millar and Edward Kruk published an article taking issue with some of the analyses and interpretations in the Tornello et al. paper.  Two of the authors of the original paper (Emery & Tornello, 2014) responded to the issues raised by Millar and Kruk.  Some of the critique by Millar and Kruk appears to be confusion about whether the findings.  Due to the mislabeling of a table (Table 5), Millar and Kruk interpreted these finding in the opposite direction of Tornello et al.  Many of their other criticisms such as the validity of the attachment measure and the limits of the sample are important and require careful interpretation of the findings, but await other evidence to determine whether these findings hold up.  At the moment 4 out 5 studies of this issue have found that overnight stays by infants and/or toddlers leads to attachment issues.

The one issue raised by Millar and Kruk that was not addressed by Emery and Tornello is the attachment of these children to other caregivers– the non-residential fathers, grandparents, child care providers, etc.  I have not looked carefully at the other information we know about the participants in the Fragile Families study, but these families were “fragile families.”  Could staying overnight with non-residential fathers represent the degree of chaos in the mothers’ household rather than “paternal involvement?”  How are the residents in the “father’s household”– grandparents or not? i don’t know the answers to these questions, but it would be good to find out more about these issues.

Finally, all of the studies to date have some limitations and this evidence cannot be described as definitive.  This is a complicated issue and no single study should be the basis for policy and practice by America’s court system, but this new work by Tornello and colleagues has provided a thoughtful analysis.  

For references and further reading on these issues see the following:   

Bretherton, I, Seligman, S, Solomon, J, Crowell, J. McIntosh, J. (2011). “If I could tell the judge something about attachment…” Perspectives on attachment theory in the family
law courtroom. Family Court Review, 49, 539-548.  doi: 10.1111/j.1744-1617.2011.01391.x

Emery, R. E., & Tornello, S. L. (2014). Rejoinder to Millar and Kruk (2014): Who assumes the burden of proof when there is no neutral null hypothesis? Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(1), 237-240. doi:10.1111/jomf.12070

George, C., Solomon, J. and McIntosh, J, (2011). Divorce in the Nursery: On infants and overnight care. Family Court Review, 49, 521-529. doi:  10.1111/j.1744-1617.2011.01389.x

McIntosh, J., Smyth, B., Kelaher, M., Wells, Y., & Long, C. (2010). Post-separation parenting arrangements and developmental outcomes for infants and children. Canberra, Australia: Attorney General’s Department.

Millar, P., & Kruk, E. (2014). Maternal attachment, paternal overnight contact, and very young children’s adjustment: Comment on Tornello et al. (2013). Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(1), 232-236. doi:10.1111/jomf.12071 

Solomon, J., & George, C. (1999). The development of attachment in separated and divorced families: Effects of overnight visitation, parent, and couple variables. Attachment and Human Development, 1, 2-33.  doi:  10.1080/14616739900134011

Solomon, J., & George, C. (1999). The effects of overnight visitation in divorced and separated families: A longitudinal follow-up. In J. Solomon & C. George (Eds.), Attachment Disorganization (pp. 243-264). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Tornello, S. L., Emery, R., Rowen, J., Potter, D., Ocker, B. and Xu, Y. (2013), Overnight Custody Arrangements, Attachment, and Adjustment Among Very Young Children. Journal of Marriage and Family, 75, 871–885. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12045

Posted in Coparenting, Effects of Divorce on Children, fathers, Legal issues, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Comparisons of Divorce Rates Across Countries


In recent months I have created several graphs and figures that compare divorce rates across the world.  I have now created a page that includes many of these graphs and figures in one place to make them easier to find.

It is called World Divorce Rated Compared…..

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