1st Edition

Stepfamilies A Global Perspective on Research, Policy, and Practice

By Jan Pryor Copyright 2014
    248 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This new book reviews the most current global research and highlights the challenges, possibilities, and dynamics of stepfamily households. It describes their formation, their experiences, and the factors that help them thrive. International and cultural differences are highlighted throughout along with issues of class, gender, and religion. Nontraditional stepfamilies such as those headed by same-sex families are also explored along with clinical and legal issues. Engagingly written with numerous vignettes and examples, each chapter features objectives, an introduction, boldfaced key terms, summary, list of key terms, discussion questions, exercises, and additional text and web resources. The book concludes with a glossary.

    Highlights of coverage include:

    • The history, diversity, and demography of stepfamilies (ch. 1).
    • Frameworks for thinking about stepfamilies (ch. 2).
    • The impact of race and culture on stepfamily dynamics (ch. 3).
    • Stepfamily formation including the role of cohabitation and lone parenting (ch.4).
    • The wellbeing of adults in stepfamilies including resident and nonresident parents (ch.5).
    • Relationships in stepfamilies including those between adults, between adults and children, and between siblings (chs. 6 & 7). 
    • Children’s wellbeing in stepfamilies, and factors that help explain outcomes (ch. 8).
    • The importance of intergenerational relationships (ch.9).
    • Stepfamilies headed by sex couples; wellbeing, stigma and legal issues (ch. 10).
    • Factors that promote wellbeing in stepfamilies such as communication patterns, rituals, and flexibility (ch.11).
    • Interventions and therapy, and recent legal and policy issues (chs. 12 & 13).
    • New ways of thinking about stepfamily living (ch. 14).

    Intended as a core advanced undergraduate/beginning graduate text for courses on stepfamilies or as a supplement for courses on divorce, family studies, introduction to the family, and/or marriage and the family taught in human development and family studies, psychology, sociology, and social work, the book also appeals to those who work with stepfamilies in a counseling or legal setting.


    1. Introduction to Stepfamilies 2. Frameworks and Theories for Understanding Stepfamilies 3. Contexts of Stepfamilies: Culture and Race 4. Stepfamily Formation: Pathways and Processes 5. Adults in Stepfamilies 6. Adult and Sibling Relationships in Stepfamilies 7. Child-Adult Relationships 8. Children in Stepfamilies 9. Intergenerational Relationships in Stepfamilies 10. Gay and Lesbian Stepfamilies 11. The Stepfamily as a Unit: Challenges and Wellbeing 12. Interventions for Stepfamilies 13. Legal and Policy Issues for Stepfamilies 14. Overview and Conclusions


    Jan Pryor, PhD, is an adjunct professor at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

     "The most comprehensive book on stepfamilies ever written - a real gem by a luminary in the field."- Susan Golombok, Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, UK

    "This book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of stepfamilies in the US and other parts of the world. Written by one of the world’s leading experts on stepfamilies, this textbook is perfectly suited for college-level courses on contemporary families." - Paul R. Amato, Pennsylvania State University, USA

    "Stepfamilies is a gem. With sensitivity to the individual yet careful attention to our evidence base, Jan Pryor teaches us about stepfamilies with breadth and in depth. I highly recommend this book to researchers, practitioners, students, and inquiring stepfamily members too." - Robert E. Emery, University of Virginia, USA

    "Jan Pryor is known world-wide as an expert on stepfamily organisation. Her book ... provides students with an extremely thorough review of stepfamily relationships in all their diversity. It is a very welcome addition to the literature."-Graham Allan, Keele University, UK

    "Jan Pryor ...is ...well respected by internation al colleagues. ... Instructors are increasingly focusing on other cultures and other countries in their teaching of family issues. ... [This] volume could be used by both advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students ... in ... psychology, sociology and social work."– Ross Parke, University of California, Riverside, USA

    "Stepfamilies can be quite complex and the author does a nice job of presenting the material in way that would help students grasp this complexity. ... This would be a valuable book for an advanced undergraduate course in family studies."-Valarie King, the Pennsylvania State University, USA

    "The book will clearly benefit from her expertise and knowledge of the field internationally. The book is comprehensive and could be used as a core text in a class on stepfamilies and in this way encourage the development of such courses …[or it] could be used as a supplement to a family studies class."- Robert Milardo, University of Maine, USA, Editor, Textbooks in Family Studies Series

    "If anyone can present a more global perspective on the topic, Dr. Pryor can. ... I would recommend [the book] ... for ... use ... [in] courses on marriage and family. ... The content is valuable to family studies people (including students). ... The "more than the U.S." is highly appealing." - Kay Pasley, Florida State University, USA

    "A thorough overview of a complex, multiconnected, and overlooked area. As such, it is a valuable contribution to the literature" - Cynthia C. Siebel, PsycCRITIQUES