Relationships associated with long-term stepgrandmother role behavior, role meaning, and satisfaction

by Kane, Mary-Catherine, Ph.D., WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, 2009, 155 pages; 3364673


Remarriage from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s has resulted in a growing cohort of stepmothers transitioning into stepgrandmotherhood. The complexity of studying long-term stepfamilies has lead to a paucity of long-term stepfamily research, particularly among stepgrandmothers. This study is one of the first to embrace the complexity of long-term stepfamilies by examining stepgrandmother role behavior and role meaning, and stepgrandmother-stepgrandchild relationship satisfaction within the linked family system. One hundred and twenty-two long-term stepgrandmothers were recruited via convenience and snowball sampling to complete a 54-item questionnaire. Study criteria included stepgrandmothers, whose stepchildren (a) were minors at the time of their father's remarriage; and (b) have subsequently given birth, fathered, or adopted children of their own. Stepgrandmothers responded to questions about the current status of six dyadic relationships (stepgrandmother-adult stepchild closeness, father-adult child closeness, biological grandmother-adult child closeness, stepgrandmother-biological grandmother friendliness, husband-former spouse friendliness, and husband support for the step(grand)mother role), which have been shown to be associated with stepfamily dynamics in the early years of stepfamily formation. Additional questions surveyed stepgrandmother perceptions of stepgrandmother role behavior and role meaning, satisfaction with the stepgrandchild relationship, custody arrangements of minor stepchildren, and demographic information. Multiple linear regression revealed significant associations between several dyadic relationships (stepgrandmother-adult stepchild closeness and biological grandrnother-adult child closeness) and stepgrandmother role behavior, role meaning and relationship satisfaction. One-way ANOVA revealed a significant difference on stepgrandmother role meaning for stepgrandmothers who lived in shared residential arrangements with the middle generation as minors. Implications for clinical practice, policy, and research are offered.

AdviserAlan Hovestadt
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsGerontology; Social psychology; Individual & family studies
Publication Number3364673

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