Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Stepfamilies in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Amy C. WagnerEmail author
  • Scott W. Browning
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_493


Stepfamilies are a common family form in the United States and are more prevalent than in any other country (Andersson and Dimiter 2002). Current estimates indicate that over two-thirds of women and three-quarters of men will remarry, although second marriages are 10% more likely to end in divorce as compared to first unions (Sweeney 2010). There has also been an increase in the number of couples with children that cohabitate or repartner following divorce. Research indicates that stepfamily adjustment is constrained by unique developmental challenges, based on their structure and complexity as compared to original two parent families (Ganong and Coleman 2004).


Ganong and Coleman (2004) defined stepfamilies as families formed when at least one partner in the couple has a child from a prior relationship. It is estimated that about half of all children under the age of 13 are living in a stepfamily (Stewart 2007). It is helpful to expand this definition as...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Chestnut Hill CollegePhiladelphiaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mudita Rastogi
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy UniversitySchaumburgUSA