Affinity -seeking behaviors, parental attachment, and marital quality and their association with positive stepfather -stepchild relations

Joelle Janine Larsen, Purdue University


The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between affinity-seeking behaviors (i.e., affinity-seeking competence, a stepfather's efforts to develop a relationship, and engagement in individual activities), stepchild-specific variables (i.e., parental attachment, the stepchild's age at remarriage, and gender), and a stepfather-specific variable (i.e., marital quality) on positive stepfather-stepchild relations. This study fills a deficit in the literature investigating factors associated with developing positive stepfather-stepchild relations. ^ Sixty-seven stepchild-stepfather pairs participated in this study. Stepchild participants completed a battery of questionnaires, including separate Parental Attachment Questionnaires for their biological mothers and fathers, Affinity-Seeking Competence-Revised, Stepparent Behavior Inventory-Revised, and a demographic questionnaire. Stepfathers completed a series of questionnaires including the Stepfather Report of Stepchild Behavior-Revised, Affinity-Seeking Competence-Revised, a Dyadic Adjustment Scale, and a demographic questionnaire. ^ The results of this study indicate significant differences in the dyadic report of positive relations based on the stepchildren's reports of the stepfathers' affinity-seeking competence, efforts to develop a relationship, and engagement in individual activities. More specifically, the stepchildren's reports that their stepfathers demonstrate high affinity-seeking competence and high efforts to develop a relationship are related to the dyadic report of positive stepfather-stepchild relations. Further, stepchildren's reports of engaging in few individual activities were related to the dyadic report of positive relations compared to those who engage in frequent individual activities. In addition, the stepfathers who reported putting forth a consistent effort to develop a relationship with their stepchildren and had a relatively higher marital quality also reported more positive relations. Stepchildren's reports of the relationship did not vary as a function of the stepfathers' reported marital quality. ^ This information may benefit clinicians by offering stepfamilies information related to developing positive stepfather-stepchild relations. Recognizing factors related to positive relations gives stepfathers and stepchildren active means of developing positive relationships. ^




Major Professor: David A. Santogrossi, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical

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