Date of Award

Summer 1993

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an educational curriculum for stepfamily couples that were remarried or considering remarriage. The program adapted and revised materials from a variety of sources including programs developed for stepfamilies, other types of parenting programs, research and literature on stepfamilies, and the author's personal experiences from living within a stepfamily and clinical experiences with stepfamilies. This study was designed to yield (1) an educational program with homework assignments and informational handouts, to empower couples who have remarried or are considering remarriage, and, (2) a comparison with a support-only format about stepfamily issues, using the outcome measures of couple cohesion and adaptability, favorability and anxiety perceptions of being in a stepfamily. The perception of the couple relationship, the knowledge of stepfamily issues and concepts, behavioral measures of taking time to be alone with a partner, sharing appreciation or encouraging a partner, and conducting a family meeting, and the favorable evaluation of the program. A total of 43 subjects were involved in the study. Pertaining to the initial goal of this study, an eight-session educational curriculum including weekly handouts and homework assignments was developed. Couples were provided information about stepfamily living, given chances to discuss related issues and share personal experiences and assigned written homework assignments that reinforced and supplemented the curriculum. Statistical analyses included MANOVAs with repeated measures on all dependent variables. The educational group significantly improved its level of favorability being in a stepfamily, its knowledge of stepfamily concepts and issues, and increased the behavior of taking time alone with one's partner as compared to the support group. This study demonstrated that a short-term educational curriculum including homework assignments and weekly handouts, assisted stepfamily couples to feel more favorable about being in a stepfamily and more knowledgeable about stepfamily concepts and issues. Couples also gained a greater appreciation for taking time to be alone with a partner.



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