Family Structures Have Been Changing Sociology

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Given that the formation of stepfamilies follows an experience of loss such as from the decease of a parent ( Papernow, 1993 ) or the disintegration of a former relationship or matrimony ( Ganong & A ; Coleman, 1994 ) , there are alone challenges that stepfamilies are faced with when organizing a new familial system. For illustration, each individual who enters into a stepfamily has his or her ain constructed values, wonts, beliefs, modus operandis, friends, household and work that are brought into the familial brotherhood. Adjustment and assimilation of these separate ways of life are much more ambitious when holding to complect one already independently established life style with other collaboratively established partnerships. Stepparents, for illustration, experience firsthand the complexnesss of fall ining an already formed household ( Roosevelt & A ; Lofas, 1976 ) , accommodating to a new function ( Visher & A ; Visher, 1991 ) , and for first clip stepparents, switching from an individualistic focal point to a more collectivized one ( Fletcher, 2007 ) . The alterations that occur one time the household is solidified through matrimony affect everyone involved in the stepfamily formation procedure. Although past research has considered many facets that are related to the experiences of stepmembers and the development of stepfamilies, there are still some unaddressed countries. For case, there is no research that sheds visible radiation on the experience of a mental wellness professional adult female who has focused chiefly on her calling, and so all of a sudden going a stepmother.

Statement of the Problem

The chase of educational promotion is likely to co-occur with a adult female ‘s childbirth old ages. As a consequence, adult females may be confronted with the determination to detain maternity in order to concentrate chiefly on finishing their surveies. Once they have obtained a grade in their coveted field, these adult females are provided with the chance to concentrate on their professional individuality and finally work towards set uping a calling. As these adult females continue to concentrate on their professional advancement, their manner of life is likely to focus on around their calling engagement. However, Hoffnung ( 2004 ) found that there are adult females who are on the calling path who besides desire to hold a household. As household and calling are both valued, the struggle with “ desiring it all ” was non unnoticed. Metz and Tharenou ( 2001 ) asserted that parental position remains related to career accomplishment, such that holding more kids was found to impact calling engagement, frequently times demoing less involvement in one ‘s calling. So, what is the impact on these adult females ‘s callings when they meet a adult male with kids? How make these professional adult females, already settled in their callings, see the meeting of two important functions, calling adult female and stepmother? The class may be merely described ( run intoing a adult male with kids and make up one’s minding to acquire married ) , but the experiences of these two functions are likely to be complex, and known merely to those adult females who have lived the outgrowth of these two worlds. Therefore, the experience of going a stepmother is non merely about set uping relationships and happening a topographic point in their freshly formed household, but besides includes equilibrating calling clip with household clip.


Blended households, or stepfamilies, are formed when one or both grownups in a matrimony bring at least one kid from a old relationship into the new familial system ( Kreider & A ; Ellis, 2011 ; Papernow, 1993 ) . As celebrated above, stepfamilies are predicted to be the most frequent type of household in the United States today ( U.S. Census Bureau, n.d. ; as cited by Stepfamily Foundation, 2011 ) . However, surveies have noted that stepcouple relationships are at a higher hazard of divorce compared to twosomes from first clip matrimonies, 65 % compared to 50 % , severally ( U.S Census Bureau, 2006 ) . Therefore, understanding the assorted complexnesss and alone challenges of organizing a stepfamily is imperative. In analyzing stepfamilies, research workers have investigated the importance of go throughing through certain developmental stages in order for these households to win in constructing their new system ( McGoldrick & A ; Carter, 1989 ; Mills, 1984 ; Papernow, 1993 ; Visher & A ; Visher, 1990 ) . For illustration, harmonizing to Papernow ( 1993 ) , stepfamilies pass through seven rhythms as they move towards structuring their lives together, and the challenges that stepfamilies experience throughout the developmental rhythm are pragmatically different from integral households.

The Stepfamily Cycle, as developed by Papernow ( 1993 ) , integrates Gestalt and household systems theory in order to foreground the structural alterations that occur within the new system. For illustration, the blending of biological subsystems ( i.e. , parent and kid ) and stepfamily members create new functions and boundaries, which finally contribute to the germinating new measure system. This theoretical account is provided as a model for understanding how traveling through certain stages of stepfamily development affect the formation of this new type of household. Harmonizing to Papernow ( 1993 ) , the seven-stage theoretical account can be generalized to all stepfamilies who are working towards going a functional household unit. This theoretical account may besides be utilized by those stepfamilies who seek to do sense out of the complexnesss that arise in the procedure of familial systemic alteration.

Papernow ( 1993 ) interviewed clinical and non-clinical stepfamilies on their experiences of “ doing a new household, ” and through this procedure, seven phases of development emerged: 1 ) the fantasy phase, where household members maintain unrealistic hopes and outlooks of the new household ; 2 ) the submergence phase, in which household members deal with the inevitable challenges and misinterpretations that arise in their new familial system ; 3 ) the consciousness phase, which marks a critical stage of development, and involves the designation and apprehension of the boundaries, feelings and demands of each member ; 4 ) the mobilisation phase, where household members confront uttered differences, and effort to intercede alterations without making a disjunction within the household ; 5 ) the action phase, where the household works together to reorganise the new familial construction ; 6 ) the contact phase, where positive relationships are formed and the development of functions are solidified ; and 7 ) the declaration phase, where the new system has established a stable and feasible stepfamily.

This theoretical account introduced an overall account of how members move through the different phases of stepfamily development, which includes the necessary undertakings that need to be accomplished in order to travel from disjointed subgroups ( i.e. , measure and biological ) to a collaborative step-system. Papernow ( 1993 ) besides provided interview responses of stepfamily members ‘ subjective experiences that related to the alterations happening within the developing phases of the stepfamily. However, her research did non specifically address or spread out on how specific parts of single lives ( like spiritual beliefs, schooling, or callings ) were affected byA the stepfamily development.A

Other research workers have besides contributed to the consciousness and apprehension of the stepfamily system ( McGoldrick & A ; Carter, 1989 ; Mills, 1984 ; Visher & A ; Visher, 1990 ) , in which the primary aims consisted of undertakings that each household must carry through or avoid in order to go a healthy and functional system. For illustration, Mills ( 1984 ) described a stepfamily theoretical account that guides stepfamilies through the different quandary that may originate from making this new type of household. This theoretical account emphasized the cardinal importance of avoiding the usage of ‘intact ‘ households as a theoretical account for developing their ain household ( Mills, 1984 ) . McGoldrick and Carter ( 1989 ) indicated that stepfamilies must work through assorted emotional undertakings before they are able to efficaciously emerge as a strong unit. Additionally, Visher and Visher ( 1990 ) proposed that a successful stepfamily must get the better of certain challenges and undertakings that are presented in the passage phase of traveling towards a stepfamily civilization ; for illustration, beef uping relationships, making new traditions, and doing certain each member has a sense of being portion of the new household unit.

Consistent with seeking a deeper apprehension of the stepfamily procedure, Baxter, Braithwaite, and Nicholson ( 1999 ) conducted a survey concentrating on important experiences of blended households in their first four old ages of development. However, alternatively of making a ‘prescriptive ‘ theoretical account of what stepfamilies need to carry through in order to go successful, Baxter et Al. ( 1999 ) investigated major “ turning points ” ( e.g. , alterations in family composing and quality clip for household members ) that are embedded in the developmental flights ( i.e. , tracts ) of blended ( i.e. , measure ) households. For illustration, the research workers obtained subjective descriptions of the important events that each household identified as jussive mood for constructing a household individuality and making a sense of “ experiencing like a household ” ( Baxter et al. , 1999 ) .

As stepfamilies transition into their ain system, there are assorted obstructions that research workers have found to be common in the experiences of the germinating household. For illustration, extra research on stepfamilies has included more specific countries of geographic expedition, such as interpersonal relationships within stepfamilies ( Church, 1999 ; Dunn, Cheng, O’Connor, & A ; Bridges, 2004 ; Gallardo, 2007 ; Hart, 2009 ) , the effects of stepchildren on the matrimonial brotherhood ( Bir-Akturk & A ; Fisiloglu, 2009 ; Knox & A ; Zusman, 2001 ; Pacey, 2005 ; Sayre, McCollum, & A ; Spring, 2010 ) , the outlooks of the familial functions within the new system ( Doodson & A ; Morley, 2006 ; Felker, Fromme, Arnaut, & A ; Stoll, 2002 ; Orchard & A ; Solberg, 1999 ) , covering with issues that may originate from the other biological parent ( Dunn, O’Connor, & A ; Cheng, 2005 ; Knox & A ; Zusman, 2001 ) , and the quandary sing trial and detention of the kids involved ( Ambert, 1986 ; Henry & A ; McCue, 2009 ; Stewart, 2010 ) .

These assorted challenges are inevitable within the underdeveloped phases and experiences of being portion of a stepfamily. Regardless of the cosmopolitan challenges that are involved when stepfamilies are formed, nevertheless, every stepmother has her ain personal experiences that she encounters within the new system. For illustration, stepmothers may get down to treat the fact that they are come ining into an already established parent-child system, and this world may arouse feelings of “ jealousy, confusion, bitterness, and insufficiency ” ( Papernow, 1993 ) . Stepmothers may even see feelings of being an foreigner ( Papernow, 1993 ) even though they must come in their function in taking on the duty of a household instantly after they marry a adult male with kids ( Dainton, 1993 ) . Harmonizing to Doodson and Morley ( 2006 ) stepmothers are placed in a new familial construction where they strive to win in their functions as married woman and stepmother. Therefore, stepmothers are non merely working towards happening arrangement into an already formed household, but besides strive to construct, keep relationships, and win as both a stepmother and married woman. In the thick of all these challenges and undertakings, how much of the stepmother ‘s personal life is interrupted during this procedure? What compromises or challenges do these adult females experience when they to the full accept both functions within the household? The undermentioned research sing stepmothers will spread out on extra countries of adult females ‘s lives that are affected by going and being stepmothers, every bit good as the emotional, psychological, and everyday alterations that arise when come ining into a stepfamily. However, because the literature has non addressed how adult females deal with the combination of their functions as calling adult female, married woman, and stepmother, the present research survey will research and lend to the apprehension of this phenomenon.


Recent statistics have indicated that there are about 14 million stepmothers in the United States ( Parker, 2011 ) , and there are more than 11 million stepmothers ( married or cohabitating ) of kids less than 18 old ages of age ( Stewart, 2009 ) . Research on stepmothers has ranged from function outlooks of the stepmother to the overall experiences of stepmothering ( Dainton, 1993 ; Doodson & A ; Morley, 2006 ; Henry & A ; McCue, 2009 ; Weaver & A ; Coleman, 2005 ; Whiting, Smith, Barnett, & A ; Grafsky, 2007 ) . Prior to going a stepmother, adult females are confronted with the procedure of make up one’s minding whether they are willing to get married a adult male with kids. During this clip, phantasies, outlooks, and concerns sing the possible stepfamily are likely to come up. Knox and Zusman ( 2001 ) reported that there are many variables that are included in the contemplation procedure in make up one’s minding to get married a adult male who has kids from a old matrimony. These variables include: 1 ) admiting the hazards that are involved with 2nd matrimonies that may impact matrimonial stableness ; 2 ) questioning if life together will guarantee subsequent matrimonial success ; 3 ) proroguing the matrimony until issues of stepchildren, ex-wives, and economic duties are dealt with ; and 4 ) make up one’s minding on the life agreements postmarriage ( Knox & A ; Zusman, 2001 ) . However, irrespective of the clip spent on taking to get married a adult male with kids, these adult females still found themselves sing negative emotions about their determinations. For illustration, of the adult females studied, Knox and Zusman ( 2001 ) found that get marrieding a adult male with “ luggage ” ( i.e. , get marrieding a adult male with kids and an ex-wife ) was significantly associated with matrimonial instability, the contemplation of acquiring a divorce, and repenting their determination to get married a adult male with kids.

In a survey researching the parental functions of non-residential stepmothers ( i.e. , adult females who are married to work forces who have kids but who do non hold primary physical detention of those kids ) , Doodson and Morley ( 2006 ) found that many of the stepmothers held a negative emotional position for holding to change their lives in a manner that would suit their stepchildren. For illustration, one participant expressed her defeat with holding to include her stepchildren in vacation activities and portion the company of her hubby with her stepchildren. Some stepmothers besides indicated that if they could alter anything, “ they would non be stepparents ” ( Doodson and Morley, 2006 ) . On the other manus, this survey besides suggested that stepmothers with no kids of their ain were more likely to accommodate to their new function compared to stepmothers who brought their ain kids into the matrimony. However, consequences did non turn to whether these adult females ‘s callings were a major variable in their experiences of holding to set their lives when they became a stepmother.

Henry and McCue ‘s ( 2009 ) survey of non-residential stepmothers found that adult females were most frustrated about the deficiency of control they felt over put to deathing their preferable parenting manners during trial agendas and the fiscal troubles associated with child support. Some participants expressed their choler towards holding to return to work in order to assist pull off the fiscal troubles associated with child support payments ( Henry & A ; McCue, 2009 ) . Additionally, the stressors associated with going a stepmother for these adult females frequently elicited depressive symptoms in participants, which were attributed to some participants ‘ feelings of uncontrollability and holding their idealisations of get marrieding a adult male with kids disproved ( Henry & A ; McCue, 2009 ) . In an effort to turn to the issues of rearing patterns and trial programming, Henry and McCue ( 2009 ) suggested that household service suppliers meet with both residential and nonresidential parents, which seemed to help with taking into history each familial state of affairs when finding programming, rearing patterns, and fiscal duties of both households.

Weaver and Coleman ( 2005 ) examined the functions of nonresidential stepmothers, concentrating on how these adult females conceptualized their function within the household. The consequences indicated that nonresidential stepmothers identified their functions as either ‘mothering but non a female parent function, ‘ ‘other-focused functions, ‘ or ‘outsider functions. ‘ The engagement of the nonresidential stepmother was determined by how she perceived her function within the stepfamily. For illustration, adult females who exercised “ mothering behaviours ” were more involved with their stepchildren compared to adult females who viewed their function as an “ perceiver, ” which created a distance between the stepmother and the visiting kids ( Weaver & A ; Coleman, 2005 ) . These functions were non merely influenced by the partner and stepchildren and the biological female parent of the kids, but were besides determined by the stepmother ‘s ain personal outlooks of her function duties.

In general, stepmothers must take on a new individuality and discover ways to set to this new function that is brought on by come ining into a household with kids. For this ground, many adult females have turned to pop-culture books on going stepmothers in order to seek for replies that will help them with happening their manner on this new journey ( Burns, 2001 ; Fletcher, 2007 ; Thoele, 2003 ) . However, many mainstream books limit their focal point towards merely one facet of stepmotherhood and the overall across-the-board experience of being or going a stepmother. For illustration, Thoele ( 2003 ) , an writer, clinical psychologist, female parent, and stepmother discussed in her book, The Courage to be a Stepmother, the cosmopolitan complexnesss, demands, and experienced outlooks of the stepmother function. Burns ( 2001 ) addressed inquiries centered around possible dissensions between implementing regulations, helping stepsiblings with edifice positive relationships, managing vacations, interacting in healthy ways with the biological parent, and going aware of when to seek professional aid.

Of the assortment of books that are offered to supply new stepmothers with consciousness and educational aid, Fletcher ( 2007 ) produced a book for childless calling adult females who are involved with a adult male with kids from a old matrimony. She focused chiefly on the challenges that stepmothers deal with when come ining into a new life style and encouraged calling adult females to use their working accomplishments within the place ( e.g. , forming, squad edifice, and originative brainstorming ) .

Fletcher ( 2007 ) besides noted that stepmotherhood could hold a negative impact on a adult female ‘s calling and do a dramatic alteration in one ‘s working wonts. For illustration, when unifying a calling life with an instant household, scheduling becomes a precedence, in which instance seting work agendas to complement the demands of a new familial life style is inevitable. Concerns from the stepmother ‘s foreman or co-workers may originate sing whether the quality and measure of her work will worsen ( Fletcher, 2007 ) , such as when holding to bespeak fewer hours and disrupting work life when assorted assignments originate ( e.g. , school maps, physicians ‘ assignments, and/or parent-teacher conferences ) . Fletcher ( 2007 ) further discussed the assorted worlds that adult females may see when going a stepmother ; for illustration, covering with the rejections from others when they decided to get married a adult male with kids, and the importance of keeping familial boundaries.

The countries discussed in Fletcher ‘s book are parallel to other mainstream books that aid with understanding the procedure of going a stepmother ; nevertheless, the impression that calling adult females are alone in the procedure of stepmotherhood still remains. For illustration, when calling adult females decide to get married a adult male with kids she is go forthing behind a career-focused individuality and plunging herself into a life consisting of equilibrating a life style as a married woman, stepmother, and calling adult female. In a similar vena, the undermentioned research will research adult females who are educationally advanced and were dedicated towards their calling development before get marrieding a adult male with kids.

Career Women

When integral households grow together, each member creates and portions his or her life at the same time with the other members of the household. Through the procedure of holding interconnected lives, each member becomes accustomed to how the familial system operates. Hence, through acquaintance and experience, each member is able to set to how the other members ‘ lives have developed ( Papernow, 1993 ) . Family members who come from atomic household constructions have their shared past experiences that have provided the chance to work together and find familial functions, regulations, and relationships ( Papernow, 1993 ) . When a adult female decides to come in into a matrimony with a adult male and his kids, she is fall ining a household which has already created its ain modus operandis and familial beliefs. She is likely to pass clip calculating out her ain topographic point in the household and gauging where and how her ain sentiments, behaviours, and values fit in. At this point, each member has his or her ain thoughts and outlooks on how he or she wants the new household to develop. As the members of the stepfamily discover common land, the relationships and functions within the new system are likely to take form. However, along with the household formation procedure, stepmothers go through their ain passage period. Thus, understanding how stepmothers re-examine life precedences and see their ain individuality formation are all phases that are likely to be similar in some ways to stepmothers who have callings prior to fall ining a new household.

However, career adult females who enter into a new familial system conveying their ain values, beliefs, and habits into the new household, including their ain professional life style. As such, these adult females, prior to going stepmothers, may hold lived a life that focused chiefly on their professional duties. These adult females ‘s precedences prior to going a stepmother were basically individualistically driven. The determinations that were made throughout her big life were based on the demands, values, and beliefs that were compatible with her life style. For illustration, when make up one’s minding to work towards set uping a calling, the pick to prorogue maternity was likely derived from the belief that instruction and calling semen before matrimony and kids. On the other manus, the determination to detain maternity may hold been a natural happening instead than a witting pick. Despite these flights, what is the likeliness that these two separate functions and/or individualities — calling adult female and stepmother — will come together? Harmonizing to the Stepfamily Foundation ( 2011 ) , the U.S. Census Bureau reported over 80 % of adult females who enter into stepfamilies are career adult females, which suggests the prevalence of this population ( U.S. Census Bureau, n.d. ; as cited by Stepfamily Foundation, 2011 ) . However, the statistic noted by the Stepfamily Foundation did non stipulate whether these calling adult females brought their ain kids into the household. Still, through the procedure of going a calling adult female, a assortment of picks are made in order to back up a calling life style. For illustration, as noted above, among these picks is the common determination to prorogue maternity, which allows adult females to schedule their clip around their calling development. However, one time these adult females marry a adult male with kids, determinations begin to take into history her hubby and her stepchildren. Additionally, as a consequence of this brotherhood, these adult females are likely to see the demand to review their new life precedences, which will include her calling, matrimony, and stepmother function.

Perez and Torrens ( 2009 ) conducted a qualitative survey look intoing how stepmothers ‘ thoughts of maternity affected their mothering and stepmothering functions. Their probe presented adult females ‘s positions on why they decided to detain holding kids ; consequences indicated that the pick in detaining maternity may stem from the concern that holding kids may do the chase of carry throughing educational and calling aims hard ( Perez & A ; Torrens, 2009 ) . One participant expressed that in her clip of finishing her educational ends, the determination of going a female parent did non suit in with her post-educational professional aims ( Perez & A ; Torrens, 2009 ) . Similarly, Yogev and Vierra ( 1983 ) proposed that younger professional adult females non merely take to prorogue maternity in order to develop their callings, but have besides continued to detain maternity during their clip of carry throughing their calling duties. Additionally, happening a stable relationship before make up one’s minding to hold kids seemed to be another factor in make up one’s minding to detain maternity ; in which instance the work life style may make troubles with happening this relationship ( Perez & A ; Torrens, 2009 ) .

Yogev and Vierra ( 1983 ) besides investigated professional adult females ‘s attitudes towards holding kids ; these research workers found that the determination to stay childless was higher for younger professional adult females compared to both older professionals and younger adult females in the general population ( Yogev & A ; Vierra, 1983 ) . Consequences of this survey supported the thought that younger professionals may miss the assurance of being able to successfully carry through their duties of being a female parent and calling adult female at the same clip ( Yogev & A ; Vierra, 1983 ) . Therefore, non merely does research bespeak that adult females choose to detain maternity for the intents of achieving educational ends and calling promotion, but literature besides suggests that calling adult females may make up one’s mind to foster postpone maternity in order to farther progress in their professional enterprises ( Perez & A ; Torrens, 2009 ; Yogev & A ; Vierra, 1983 ) . With the figure of stepfamilies increasing each twelvemonth and calling adult females taking to prorogue maternity ( for the intents of educational promotion, calling attainment, and/or professional growing ) , the phenomenon of childless calling adult females going stepmothers is likely to overlap ( Perez & A ; Torrens, 2009 ) . For illustration, in the thick of carry throughing their callings, these adult females may run into a individual male parent, autumn in love, and acquire married, and as a consequence of this brotherhood, become a married woman and stepmother to his kids. Additionally, these adult females non merely take on the function of stepmother and married woman, but are besides faced with the possible challenges of integrating a calling individuality with her new individualities: married woman and stepmother.

Delaying Motherhood

The pick of detaining holding kids for the intents of stand outing in one ‘s instruction, constructing fiscal security, and fostering one ‘s professional engagement has been increasing since the rise of adult females in the work force ( Weeden, Abrams, Green, & A ; Sabini, 2006 ; Wilkie, 1981 ) . Therefore, childbearing may non be a precedence until after a adult female ‘s calling has been established. Although research has non specifically explored calling adult females ‘s grounds for delayed maternity in the mental wellness professions in peculiar, as noted above, past research supports that there are many adult females who have decided to prorogue childbearing for the intents of calling promotion. Consequently, there are assorted life styles adult females may hold created before get marrieding a adult male with kids, and this peculiar survey focal points on adult females without kids of their ain who become stepmothers, who have, anterior to get marrieding a adult male with kids, invested their clip and dedication into finishing a professional mental wellness grade and are presently working within their professional field. These adult females who have prior structured life styles necessarily have to absorb several functions in order to see a smooth passage into this new system. As one might speculate, accommodation into this new familial system is likely to do assorted stressors, created in portion by holding to equilibrate household clip with one ‘s professional duties, and the effects are seen in the relational and developmental procedures within the household.

Mental Health Professional Women

One facet of the phenomenon being examined is the specific profession/career, and one inquiry to be asked is whether mental wellness professionals differ from other calling adult females in absorbing into a stepfamily for grounds that are specific to their instruction, preparation, and pattern. Mental wellness professionals are given the chance to obtain cognition sing the developmental procedures and behaviours of persons and households, developing which may help them in understanding the issues that are likely to originate within their ain germinating household. Specifically, adult females who have obtained a grade in the mental wellness field have received instruction and preparation that contributes to a diverse cognition base that is likely to be different from other calling adult females who have pursued a calling in another country.

Through their educational promotion mental wellness professionals will probably hold a different degree of understanding sing familial procedures and relationships, and may measure state of affairss otherwise, which may stem from “ psychological mindedness ” ( Farber, 1983 ; as cited by Paris, Linville, & A ; Rosen, 2006 ) . Additionally, mental wellness professionals learn about assorted get bying schemes, many of which may be effectual in covering with multiple stressors sing their double functions. Finally, mental wellness professionals may be likely to farther investigate or use research as a manner to pull off and keep a healthier position sing their current state of affairs. Through the usage of their educational preparation and professional experiences, mental wellness professionals may besides be able to see their state of affairs as manageable and may use the self-awareness, openness, sensitiveness, and assurance that they have learned from their professional experiences ( Farber, 1983 ; as cited by Paris, Linville, & A ; Rosen, 2006 ) as a manner to back up the accommodation procedure of equilibrating the functions of being a stepmother and calling adult female. Paris, Linville, and Rosen ‘s ( 2006 ) survey supported the thought that professional experiences have a important impact on persons ‘ personal lives and experiences. The research workers ‘ survey highlighted household systems theories as a conducive factor, which helped depict the manner participants interacted within their personal lives. However, while mental wellness professional adult females may use their cognition and preparation within their personal lives, which may impact determinations and alter perceptual experiences, it does non needfully intend results are formulated in a positive way.

Mothers with Careers

Prosecuting one ‘s calling through educational promotion about ever coincides with childbearing old ages. For many old ages adult females have been faced with the quandary of holding to make up one’s mind whether to carry through a fulltime mothering function, concentrate on constructing a calling, or take on these double functions together. Research workers have studied adult females who choose to equilibrate the function of being a female parent and at the same time go on to carry through their calling or working duties ( Barnett & A ; Baruch, 1985 ; Haddock & A ; Rattenborg, 2003 ; Jackson & A ; Scharman, 2002 ; Oates, Hall, Anderson, & A ; Willingham, 2008 ) ; the research shows both positive and negative results for adult females taking to take on multiple functions of calling and maternity. Haddock and Rattenborg ( 2003 ) found that twosomes reported benefits and challenges of keeping their multiple functions of calling and parenting. For illustration, one subject that emerged in their research was the ability to develop one ‘s ain individuality ( i.e. , increased individuality and wellbeing ) ; adult females expressed their ability to hold a separate individuality outside the place and reported that this separate function increased their self-esteem and assurance ( Haddock & A ; Rattenborg, 2003 ) . Challenges of multiple functions were experienced through holding to put boundaries on professional duties. Participants identified deficiency of support being an issue in callings that were non household oriented, and female parents had experienced periodic feelings of guilt when holding to pass clip off from prosecuting with their kids ( Haddock & A ; Rattenborg, 2003 ) . Extra research within this country has recognized that pull offing a calling with maternity is a complex and ambitious life style for those adult females who experience this double function ( Polasky & A ; Holahan, 1998 ) . Yet, there are career adult females who choose to pull off these two functions and described their determination on keeping their callings as a positive pick for them and their households and that they would be compromising their felicity if they decided to go forth their callings and remain at place ( Giele, 2008 ) . However, despite the huge literature on assorted facets of calling adult females and maternity, research look intoing calling adult females ‘s experiences with going stepmothers is mostly undiscovered, particularly mental wellness professional adult females stepmothers.

Cultural Perspective

Harmonizing to the 2010 National Center for Education Statistics ( NCES ) from 2008, adult females make up the bulk enrolled in postbaccalaureate plans ; 1.6 million females ( 59 per centum ) versus 1.1 million males ( 41 per centum ) . Womans were besides projected to go on to inscribe in advanced plans at a higher rate compared to their male opposite numbers ( Aud et al. , 2010 ) . When categorized by racial/ethnic groups the figure of female pupils enrolled in postbaccalaureate plans varied: White 1.0 million ; Black 225,000 ; Latino 107,000 ; Asian/Pacific Islander 102,000 ; and American Indian/Alaska Native 11,000 ( Aud et al. , 2010 ) .

When concentrating on educational attainment, in general, adult females obtained more grades than males in each of the racial/ethnic groups. The National Center for Education Statistics ( 2010 ) found that in 2007 to 2008, 72 per centum of maestro ‘s grades and 66 per centum of doctorial grades were awarded to Black female pupils. Additionally, when measured within each racial/ethnic cohort, the informations sing the per centum of distribution of the grades conferred to females by race/ethnicity indicated that more than 60 per centum of maestro ‘s grades were awarded to White, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native female pupils, and Asian/Pacific Islanders earned 54 per centum of maestro ‘s grades awarded. Furthermore, out of 63,712 females who had attained a doctorial grade between 2007 to 2008, Black females were awarded more doctorial grades ( 66 per centum ) compared to their equals from other races and ethnicities: 56 per centum White persons, 57 per centum Hispanics, 55 per centum Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 58 percent American Indian/Alaska Native had attained a doctorial grade. So, what function does civilization play in the lives of these adult females make up one’s minding to prosecute a higher instruction? What are the function outlooks ( mother versus career adult female ) for adult females from these diverse populations?

Valuess refering to different countries of a individual ‘s life ( e.g. , instruction, work, household ) set the foundation for persons of that civilization to develop the ends they strive to accomplish when carry throughing certain life functions. Valuess are beliefs that are perceived by persons as criterions for doing determinations in one ‘s life, and are developed within an person ‘s cultural context ( Brown, 2002 ) . For illustration, values refering to gender functions in some civilizations are the outlooks of adult females carry throughing the functions of married woman, female parent, and housewife. Wells ‘ ( 2005 ) survey, for illustration, discussed traditional function duties that are culturally viewed as important for Mexican American households. In that civilization, adult females are expected to equilibrate the function of married woman and female parent, while pull offing the place for the household. Males, nevertheless, are considered the primary fiscal suppliers and work outside the place to back up the household ( Rivera, Anderson, & A ; Middleton, 1999 ) .

In today ‘s society, gender function duties have shifted and more Mexican American adult females are come ining into the work force and sharing household duties with their hubbies ( Wells, 2005 ) . This alteration, nevertheless, comes with many challenges, such as doing the determination to prosecute a higher instruction and calling when 1 ‘s cultural values and beliefs are opposed to these picks. Wells ( 2005 ) asserted that adult females who considered their cultural values when make up one’s minding to progress in the work force and instruction were concerned that traveling against their traditional cultural values of chiefly being housewife, married woman, and mother, may diminish their opportunities of happening a mate and do a gulf from their household. Regardless of the possible fiscal benefits of being a double earning household, these adult females may oppugn whether taking on a on the job function is deserving changing cultural values within the familial system ( Rivera, Anderson, & A ; Middleton, 1999 ) . As such, household outlooks and the values placed on gender function duties in this civilization were considered grounds why some Mexican American adult females decided non to prosecute an instruction for the intents of calling attainment ( Wells, 2005 ) . On the other manus, households within this civilization may hold adopted new values sing gender function duties, in which these adult females would be more likely to prosecute higher instruction if supported by their household.

In this regard, in another survey, African American adult females were found to be more unfastened to the committedness of carry throughing multiple functions ( e.g. uniting calling and household ) , and the motive towards their calling were related to holding the apprehension of be aftering for a lifestyle consisting of multiple functions ( Booth & A ; Myers, 2011 ) . Culturally, the outlooks of adult females in African American households are to carry through both functions as female parent and worker ( Giele, 2008 ) . Giele ( 2008 ) noted that some black adult females were even frowned upon for make up one’s minding to concentrate merely on the housewife function ; nevertheless, some adult females decided to do the pick of esteeming their hubby ‘s function as primary breadwinner and remain at place. In respects to one ‘s calling, participants seemed to hold an easier appreciation on pull offing household and calling when valued and supported by household outlooks and when function mold was presented ( Giele, 2008 ) . The position on being a housewife or calling adult female was non an all-or-none pick, but instead two functions that can be managed at the same clip. Traditionally, the cultural mentality in society may be that adult females are non able to equilibrate these two functions, presuming that one country would be compromised ( i.e. , household and calling ) , but the thought of being unfastened to extra support from others with respects to raising their kids seemed to decrease the possibility of going overwhelmed with equilibrating these two functions, and doing it possible for these two functions to be fulfilled successfully ( Giele, 2008 ) . Positive results were besides highlighted, in which one calling adult female in peculiar who did non hold kids in her programs was grateful for the experience of being a stepmother and was pleased with this chance ( Giele, 2008 ) .

Factoring in one ‘s cultural beliefs and values are frequently times utilised as get bying mechanisms when make up one’s minding to prosecute a higher instruction. In a survey researching the relationship of faith and spiritualty in association with calling development among African American college pupils, Constantine et Al. ( 2006 ) found that the cultural elements of faith and spiritualty played a critical function in the context of calling development. For illustration, interviewees reported that God created a program for their life which directed them towards taking a calling ( Constantine et al. , 2006 ) . The research workers besides identified that both spiritual and religious schemes, such as supplication, reading the bible, and go toing church, were used by participants when covering with academic stressors, and the research workers suggested these patterns might assist participants pull off future calling challenges ( Constantine et al. , 2006 ) . Additionally, the support of hubbies, household members, and in some instances nursemaids, would besides help calling adult females with pull offing their functions as calling adult female and mothering ( Giele, 2008 ) .

Cultural values and assorted elements ( e.g. , faith and ethnicity ) within civilizations can hold a important influence on human behaviours, worldviews, and the manner in which gender functions and outlooks are perceived. Experiences within our civilization and society as a whole can lend to the development of certain scheme and stereotypes that affect our apprehension, beliefs, and cognition of others. The stepmother character, for illustration, has been portrayed in many civilizations as the “ wicked stepmother ” through fairy tales ( e.g. , Cinderella ) and different genres of fiction ( Dainton, 1993 ) . Harmonizing to Dainton, this cross-cultural myth of the “ evil stepmother ” has created negative preconceived impressions of stepmothers, which has contributed to the quandary of individuality challenges and function development. The societal stereotypes that are developed through myths create negative features that are placed upon stepmothers and have created a societal stigma ( Dainton, 1993 ) that is linked with that peculiar function. In the proposed survey, the inquiry of function of civilization in the determination to get married a adult male with kids will be investigated.

Cultural attitudes continue to act upon all countries of life, particularly sing the brotherhood of matrimony. Valuess environing matrimonial connexions have influenced the belief that matrimony is a womb-to-tomb procedure that consists of a incorporate committedness and creates the foundation for household development ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2003 ) . The determination to disassociate, on the other manus, has been viewed as an unfortunate result of a matrimonial brotherhood and is extremely discouraged. However, times and attitudes have shifted where the determination to stop a matrimony has been supported for the intents of stoping an unhealthy relationship, particularly when the matrimony involves kids ( Meltzer, 2011 ) . Post-divorce relationships have provided the chance for persons to organize new relationships and in instances where there are kids, the formation of stepfamilies.

Theoretical Position

The theoretical lens used to gestate the consequences of this survey is systems theory. Systems theory has been applied to the survey of households ( i.e. , household systems theory ) ; it focuses on the interconnectednesss and multidimensional inter-workings of the operating system. The thought is that a household is a dynamic, mutualist system that consists of boundaries, values, functions, regulations, and interpersonal relationships ( Nutt & A ; Stanton, 2011 ) . Like atomic households, stepfamilies are made up of persons who have become linked together through the procedure of matrimony, and the relationships that are formed in the household emerge within the class of reorganising the new familial construction ( Papernow, 1993 ) . Although there are different types of households ( e.g. , stepfamilies ) , the organisation of all household types is developed by the interactive forms that exist within that system. Persons who make up a system communicate with each other and influence each other in a round manner ( Nichols & A ; Schwartz, 2006 ; Garven & A ; White, 2009 ) . Specifically, alterations that happen within the system do non stay stray, but instead influence other members within that system, who in bend affect all others in the household. Therefore, the persons who exist within this mutualist system of relationships and their mundane life are affected by the manner their peculiar system operates ( Garven & A ; White, 2009 ) .

From a systemic theoretical position, the household system influences each member ‘s behaviours and contributes to the personal and interpersonal development of each member ( Nicholas & A ; Schwartz, 2006 ) . Adaptability is a construct of systemic thought and is used in this survey to turn to the phenomenon ( i.e. , calling adult females going stepmothers ) that exists within the germinating step-system. Adaptability refers to the ability of household members to go flexible in response to situational demands and outlooks that stem from internal and external alterations. Adaptability besides addresses each member ‘s capacity to change the household ‘s regulations, function relationships, and construction within the familial system ( Nutt & A ; Stanton, 2011 ) .

In this survey, the participants are come ining into a system that consists of sing the interior challenges of going a stepfamily, while integrating her external duties ( i.e. , calling ) of the lifestyle she brings into the new system. For illustration, the internal demands that occur within the system Begin with the integrating of a stepmother come ining into the household, where the overall construction experiences a displacement and the blending of values, functions, regulations, and assorted life styles come together. As the stepmother enters into the system, she is so confronted with the experience of equilibrating her preexisting duties of holding a career-oriented life style and going a stepmother. These two types of demands are experienced by the household as a whole, but affect each member in different ways, which is represented through the interactions that evolve ( e.g. , clip spent as a household and/or function outlooks ) , but the combination and impact of being a calling adult female and going a stepmother are straight experienced by the stepmother in a subjective mode. For illustration, scheduling, clip direction, and integrating her career-oriented life style with her new household are determinations finally made through her actions and her ability to pull off multiple functions. Therefore, career adult females may or may non temporarily or for good experience the demand to point their primary focal point from their calling towards the household system, in order for her to lend to the germinating system. As such, this displacement may make extra challenges and function strains on the stepmother and her calling. As a consequence of the interconnectednesss within a familial system, integrating a important component, such as a calling, into a new system will probably act upon the accommodation and adaptability procedure within the operating system.

Purpose of the Study

The undermentioned research focuses loosely on the many facets that have been found to be experienced by stepfamilies, and specifically on how those facets are experienced by mental wellness professional calling adult females who have become stepmothers. Through a qualitative survey, the end is to capture the feelings, positions, significance, and overall experiences of this phenomenon. Basically, this survey will seek to obtain a deeper degree of apprehension of the lived worlds of mental wellness professional calling adult females who have experienced the passage and accommodation of get marrieding a adult male with kids. For illustration, these adult females, in the procedure of going stepmothers, are holding to set their calling agendas to include clip to lend to their matrimony, develop relationships with their stepchildren, and keep a balanced lifestyle appropriate to theirs and their new household ‘s demands.

Womans who have invested clip and energy in the development of a specific calling, are likely to be independent adult females who persevered through carry throughing their educational ends. They have non merely dedicated old ages of their life towards constructing a suited calling, but adjusted their life styles in a manner that made those achievements possible. For illustration, adult females who are focused on calling promotion are likely to prorogue maternity in order to carry through their professional ends ( Perez & A ; Torrens, 2009 ; Yogev & A ; Vierra, 1983 ) . In conformity with this life determination, research workers have besides suggested that adult females who delay holding kids in order to concentrate on their professional development will probably develop a relationship with individual male parents ( Perez & A ; Torrens, 2009 ) . In such instances, these adult females, who have made their instruction and callings their primary focal point, finally fell in love with a adult male who had kids from a old relationship, decided to acquire married, and became a stepmother in add-on to their professional function. The developmental tract of going a mental wellness professional and a stepmother will lend to this survey by adding a greater apprehension of how these two functions come together, and whether the determination to prorogue maternity was a important contributing factor in this procedure. Through the event of a matrimonial brotherhood, the imbrication of being a calling adult female and going a stepmother evolved. Furthermore, as these adult females have spent a important sum of clip honouring their passion in going mental wellness professionals, researching these adult females ‘s experiences in going stepmothers will help with understanding the assorted worlds that exist within this population. Through look intoing the subjective experiences of mental wellness professional adult females going stepmothers, this survey will offer penetration on how these adult females adjusted into their new stepmothering function, every bit good as how they managed to unite their professionally focused lifestyle with their new familial duties.

Research Questions and/or Conceptual Hypothesiss

The undermentioned research inquiries will be portion of the interview usher and considered when researching the overall experiences of mental wellness professional calling adult females going stepmothers: 1 ) What are the initial impacts or challenges experienced by mental wellness professional calling adult females when come ining into stepmotherhood? ; 2 ) What determinations did these adult females have to do when holding to unite their professional life with their new household and how did they see the result of these determinations? ; and 3 ) How does being a mental wellness professional affect the lived experience of going and being a stepmother?

Clinical Relevance

This survey will analyze the lives of mental wellness professional calling adult females who have no biological kids of their ain and who have chosen to get married a adult male with kids. As a consequence, these adult females become stepmothers, and see a displacement in equilibrating their professional life with their new familial system. By deriving a comprehensive apprehension of the experiences of mental wellness professional adult females who have become stepmothers, practitioners/clinicians will develop a deeper apprehension of the sorts of variables that are related to emphasize every bit good as the positive versions of these adult females to assist in the assimilation procedure. In add-on to this clinical position, mental wellness professionals will besides hold the ability to better gestate their clients, which may take to more effectual primary bar and intervention planning, and an consciousness of effectual header accomplishments, which can steer their clients towards the procedure of healthy systemic operation. Additionally, career adult females who have become stepmothers will hold the chance to happen cosmopolitan experiences which may help with normalising their ain experiences and beef up their sense of ego worth and capablenesss towards equilibrating their new individualities.

Definition of Footings


For the intent of this survey, stepfamilies will be defined as “ a household in which one grownup spouse brings kids from a old relationship ” into a matrimony and the kids are non biologically related to the other grownup spouse ( National Stepfamily Resource Center, 2012 ) . This survey, nevertheless, looks more specifically at male spouses who bring one or more kids into the relationship and adult female who enter into this brotherhood without kids of her ain.

Career Woman

The Bureau of Labor Statistics ( 2011 ) indicate that a consensus sing the appropriate standards for specifying a calling among economic experts, sociologists, career-guidance professionals, and other labour market perceivers has non been made ( Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011 ) . Although there is no standard definition for a calling, most resources have defined calling as “ a class or advancement through life ” ( Wikipedia, 2012 ) and “ an business or profession that requires particular preparation and has been undertaken for a period of clip and viewed as a lasting naming or individual ‘s lifework ” (, 2012 ; Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2012 ) . For the intents of this survey, a ‘mental wellness professional-career adult female ‘ is defined as person who has obtained an advanced grade in the field of psychological science ( maestro ‘s or doctorate grade ) , and at the clip of graduation was committed to working in the mental wellness field. After finishing their grade they worked at least 20hrs/week for at least a twelvemonth as a manner to get down the development of their calling and show their committedness to the field. Extra factors that contribute to specifying a calling include: obtaining a licence and fostering one ‘s instruction through advanced preparation in a specialised country of focal point. Information about these factors will be obtained by the research worker.

Chapter II


Qualitative methodological analysis was chosen given the end of obtaining an in-depth apprehension of the multidimensional facets of going a stepmother, specifically from adult females who are mental wellness professionals. As noted in the old chapter, the undermentioned research inquiries are the usher for obtaining a more comprehensive apprehension of the phenomenon: 1 ) What are the initial impacts or challenges experienced by mental wellness professional calling adult females when come ining into stepmotherhood? ; 2 ) What determinations did these adult females have to do when holding to unite their professional life with their new household and how did they see the results of these determinations? ; and 3 ) How does being a mental wellness professional affect the experience of going and being a stepmother?

Through a phenomenological attack, participants will hold the chance to portion their experiences of being mental wellness professional calling adult females while going stepmothers. Harmonizing to Patton ( 2002 ) , the cardinal nature of qualitative research methodological analysis is the ability to detect subjects, forms, and penetrations that emerge from participants ‘ subjective worlds. As such, the positions shared by each participant will supply truth and cognition about the phenomenon of professional adult female going stepmothers, which can merely be told through the position of these adult females ‘s subjective experiences ( Patton, 2002 ) . Given that mental wellness professional calling adult females ‘s experiences of going stepmothers is mostly undiscovered, a qualitative methodological attack that consists of in-depth response assemblage ( questioning ) and content analysis will be implemented.

Research Design

The proposed survey utilizes a phenomenological attack as the footing for understanding and garnering in-depth experiences of the subjective worlds of each participant ( Patton, 2002 ) . A phenomenological attack is intended to capture the lived experiences of mental wellness professional adult females who become stepmothers. Basically, in-depth interviewing will supply adult females with the chance to offer rich informations on how they experience their universe, and supply intending on how each participant interprets her life, given this phenomenon. The research worker non merely seeks to obtain a greater apprehension of the phenomenon, but is besides ready to accommodate and set to new enquiries or countries of treatment as they arise ( Maykut & A ; Morehouse, 1994 ; Patton, 2002 ) . Therefore, the proposed qualitative research survey includes the procedure of carry oning ongoing inductive informations aggregation and analyses through an emergent research design ( Maykut & A ; Morehouse, 1994 ) . An inductive attack is defined by the informations aggregation and analysis, which allows research findings to emerge from the important subjects derived from the natural information that is provided by each participants shared experiences of the proposed phenomenon ( Maykut & A ; Morehouse, 1994 ) . Additionally, as described by Lincoln and Guba ( 1985 ) , an emergent design begins with the initial focal point of enquiry and trying scheme, and if warranted, is so refined in the procedure of ongoing informations aggregation and analysis.

For the intents of roll uping qualitative informations on the experiences of mental wellness professional adult females going stepmothers, a semi-structured interview usher will be used with each participant. This type of qualitative questioning consists of open-ended inquiries that are designed to capture outstanding information about the phenomenon under probe ( Maykut & A ; Morehouse, 1994 ) . The flexibleness of semi-structured interviews provides the participants the chance to to the full spread out on their experiences and allows the research worker to research in deepness the participants ‘ responses, utilizing those responses as a usher to farther inquiring.


As this survey is researching a peculiar phenomenon, participant choice is important. Inclusion standards will aim those who are able to offer a deeper apprehension of the phenomenon. Exclusion standards will assist see that participants who are non appropriate for the enquiry of focal point are non enrolled in the survey. Purposive sampling will be used to choose “ information rich ” participants ; that is, professional adult females who have become stepmothers, and who offer utile information on the phenomenon of involvement. The end of sampling, so, is directed at taking those who offer insight about the phenomenon ( Patton, 2002 ) .

It is expected that the proposed survey will inscribe about eight to twelve participants. However, the exact sample size is determined non merely by the figure of participants willing to portion their subjective worlds, but besides when impregnation sing this phenomenon has been reached, in which instance trying would be terminated. Maykut and Morehouse ( 1994 ) stated that impregnation is reached after an on-going procedure of informations aggregation and analysis have indicated that there is non any new information to be uncovered about the phenomenon. Furthermore, Patton ( 200 ) explained that qualitative enquiry is more concerned about choosing participants with information profusion than with sample size. Participants are selected based on the undermentioned inclusion standards:

Inclusion Standards

Mental wellness professional adult females:

between the ages of 26 and 40. This peculiar age scope is likely to co-occur with childbirth and educational and career promotion old ages

who entered into the matrimony with no biological kids of their ain

who was married for at least 2 old ages before holding biological kids of their ain

who has married a adult male with kids who were between the ages of 0 to 12 old ages old at the clip of matrimony, between two and ten old ages ago.

who received an advanced grade ( Master ‘s grade or Doctorate ) in a mental wellness field.

who worked between 20 and 32 hours per hebdomad in a mental wellness field after finishing their grade, for at least a twelvemonth, prior to traveling in with their important other ; and finally got married.

who resided with their stepchildren at least 25-30 % per month, with a lower limit of 1 overnight in a hebdomad

who was considered a ‘career adult female, ‘ as defined by the research worker, at the clip of going a stepmother.

Exclusion Standards

Mental wellness professional adult females:

who had their ain biological kids when come ining into the relationship.

who have worked in a mental wellness field for less than a twelvemonth, prior to traveling in with their important other.

who have been a stepparent for less than two or greater than ten old ages

who became a stepmother before their calling as a mental wellness professional was established ( e.g. , during graduate school )

who became a stepmother in a same-sex partnership. This standard was a slightly arbitrary pick on the research worker ‘s portion ; the research worker is utilizing the matrimony licence as one specific step of committedness to both the matrimony and the parenting relationships.

Protection of Human Participants

Prior to the interviewing procedure, the research worker will follow informed consent protocols in order to guarantee the protection of human participants. Each participant will be provided with an informed consent papers in progress of the interview, and once more at the beginning of the interview. Informed consents ( See Appendix D ) will include the undermentioned information: 1 ) The intent of the proposed survey ; 2 ) The importance of obtaining information through the agencies of a sound taped interview ; 3 ) The possible hazards and benefits that are involved for the individual being interviewed ; 4 ) The bounds of confidentiality ; 5 ) The voluntary nature of engagement ; and 6 ) The ethical and legal duties of the research worker. After being to the full informed of this procedure, each participant will be required to subscribe the informed consent papers, along with an sound taped consent signifier, and will besides be given a press release of the participant measure of rights.

The nature of a qualitative research survey requires the aggregation of informations from human participants. Audio recording and analysing the textual information from participant interviews are indispensable tools for understanding the subjective worlds of each participant. Information shared by each participant is their ain personal experiences and may arouse unanticipated straitening emotional reactions. If the state of affairs arises during the interviewing procedure, the research worker will inquire the participant if she would wish to

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