The Stepfamily Experience: the Unique Dyamics and Relationships Within a Stepfamily
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Communication dynamics within stepfamilies are often problematic. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the literature on stepfamily experience. Findings suggest that stepfamilies encounter unique stressors as they may battle myths and stereotypes. These stressors include boundary uncertainty, role ambiguity and adjustment to the new family. Certain factors such as gender, age and mental health may also affect the relationships amongst one another in a stepfamily. Research on stepfamilies communication dynamics indicates a spectrum of experiences from bonding relationships to conflictual relationships. Communication related to family members everyday talk, mental health, its role within the stepfamily and co-parenting is considered. Implications for counsellors are explored, as well as areas of future research and limitations of this thesis.