1st Edition

What Works in Stepfamilies Creating and Maintaining Satisfying and Effective Relationships

    308 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    308 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book uses a strengths-based approach and resilience perspective to offer guidance on what works in creating effective stepfamily relationships, sharing findings and empirically supported best practices for stepfamily members and the family professionals that work with them.

    Drawing from over 2,500 studies, Ganong, Coleman, and Sanner present a comprehensive overview of research on what works to create positive and satisfying stepfamily relationships. Chapters address how to work with stepcouples, stepparents, biological parents, co-parents, stepsiblings and half-siblings, and biological and stepgrandparents, with illustrative case studies throughout. It emphasizes the diversity and complexity of stepfamilies, including work with LGBTQ+ stepfamilies, stepfamilies from various racial and ethnic groups, and stepfamily relationships across the life course, from childrearing stepfamilies to those formed later in life.

    This book is essential reading for students, researchers, and practitioners interested in strengthening stepfamily relationships, such as those studying or working in family science, marriage and family therapy, psychology, and social work.


    1.  Empirical Answers about What Works in Stepfamilies 2.  What Works in Remarrying and Repartnering in Stepfamilies 3.  What Works for Effective Stepparents 4.  Effective Parenting in Stepfamilies 5.  Effective Coparenting in Stepfamilies 6.  What Works for Half- and Stepsiblings 7.  What Works for Stepgrandparents and Grandparents in Stepfamilies 8.  Summary of What Works in Stepfamilies 9.  Appendix The Research for What Works in Stepfamilies


    Lawrence Ganong, Ph.D., is internationally recognized as a leading stepfamily scholar. He has coauthored 10 books and over 350 articles about family relationships, winning numerous awards for his work.

    Marilyn Coleman, Ed.D., is a celebrated researcher with an international reputation for her work on stepfamilies. She has published 11 books and hundreds of articles and book chapters.

    Caroline Sanner, Ph.D., is an award-winning family scientist and one of the leading stepfamily scholars of her generation.

    "What Works in Stepfamilies is an excellent contribution to our understanding of stepfamily strengths—with a practical and evidence-based focus on what works. This important and insightful volume is useful for scholars studying stepfamilies, for clinicians working with stepfamilies, and for stepfamily members."

    -             Dawn O. Braithwaite, Ph.D., Willa Cather Professor of Communication Emerita, University of Nebraska, NE

    "Recognized as the most accomplished researchers on stepfamily life in the world, these authors have shifted focus to findings that support “what works” in these families. The result is a remarkably rich collection of useful research findings with clear clinical implications. Anyone interested in conducting evidence-based treatment for stepfamilies and their members will find What Works in Stepfamilies provides a step-by-step guide to relationships within this complex family type."

    -             Scott Browning, Ph.D., ABPP Professor Emeritus, Chestnut Hill College, PA

    "What Works in Stepfamilies is an indispensable resource. With a passionate strengths-based orientation and resilience perspective, the authors distill from the best available evidence clear insights about “what works” in stepfamily life and relationships to promote well-being. I could not recommend this book more highly!"

    -             Todd Jensen, Ph.D., MSW, University of North Carolina, NC

    "What Works in Stepfamilies is a gift. These stepfamily scholars have gathered a treasure trove of research about evidence-based “best practices” that support resilience and well-being in stepfamilies. This lucidly written, clearly organized volume will be indispensable for researchers, therapists, and others involved with stepfamilies."

    -             Patricia Papernow, Ed.D., psychologist and author of Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships.