Effects of Stepfamily Living on Children

  • Lawrence Ganong
  • Marilyn Coleman


How are children affected by living in stepfamilies? We compare family structures on academic achievement, internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and interpersonal relationships in this chapter. Theoretical explanations for stepfamily effects are reviewed. In general, stepchildren do less well than children in first-marriage nuclear families, but these differences are usually small, and 75–80 % of stepchildren function quite well on developmental outcomes. Theoretical frameworks addressing why stepchildren are at slightly greater risk than children in first marriage families include: (1) stress effects, (2) family process effects, and (3) selection effects.


Family structure Stress models Child abuse Stepchild development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Ganong
    • 1
  • Marilyn Coleman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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