Stepparental support to adult children: The diverging roles of stepmothers and stepfathers

Kirsten van Houdt*, Matthijs Kalmijn, Katya Ivanova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective
This study examines the support from stepparents to adult children and considers the role of the composition of the parent network, that is, the presence or absence of the biological mother or father.

Background
Going beyond previous research that compared the support provided by different types of parental households, this study provides deeper insights into adult stepfamily dynamics by considering support transfers on the stepparent–stepchild dyad level.

Method
The analyses were based on data from the Ouders en Kinderen in Nederland (Parents and Children in the Netherlands) survey, which was conducted among a stratified random sample of Dutch adults (aged 25–45) with stepparents reporting on support from each of their stepparents (N = 4,351) and biological parents (N = 5,460) separately.

Results
The results revealed different stories for stepmothers and stepfathers. Within‐child analyses showed that, controlled for the duration of coresidence, children received less types of support from their stepmother than from their biological mother, whereas among fathers, the stepfather provided more. When compared between children, stepmothers provided less types of support if their stepchild's biological mother was still alive, whereas stepfathers' support was unaffected by the biological father's presence. Stepparents of both genders provided less types of support if their partner (i.e., the child's biological parent) was deceased.

Conclusion
These findings articulate the central role of the biological mother in postseparation families and the ambiguous position of the stepmother and “widowed stepparents.”
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Marriage and the Family
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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parents
father
stepchild
dyad
random sample
Netherlands
gender

Keywords

  • DIVORCE
  • FAMILY
  • GENDER
  • INTERGENERATIONAL SUPPORT
  • MARRIAGE
  • MOTHERS
  • PARENTS
  • PERCEPTIONS
  • REMARRIAGE
  • gender
  • intergenerational relationships
  • intergenerational transfers
  • motherhood
  • stepfamilies
  • young adulthood

Cite this

@article{26e9331c8f154010af446c61acfc0d5d,
title = "Stepparental support to adult children: The diverging roles of stepmothers and stepfathers",
abstract = "ObjectiveThis study examines the support from stepparents to adult children and considers the role of the composition of the parent network, that is, the presence or absence of the biological mother or father.BackgroundGoing beyond previous research that compared the support provided by different types of parental households, this study provides deeper insights into adult stepfamily dynamics by considering support transfers on the stepparent–stepchild dyad level.MethodThe analyses were based on data from the Ouders en Kinderen in Nederland (Parents and Children in the Netherlands) survey, which was conducted among a stratified random sample of Dutch adults (aged 25–45) with stepparents reporting on support from each of their stepparents (N = 4,351) and biological parents (N = 5,460) separately.ResultsThe results revealed different stories for stepmothers and stepfathers. Within‐child analyses showed that, controlled for the duration of coresidence, children received less types of support from their stepmother than from their biological mother, whereas among fathers, the stepfather provided more. When compared between children, stepmothers provided less types of support if their stepchild's biological mother was still alive, whereas stepfathers' support was unaffected by the biological father's presence. Stepparents of both genders provided less types of support if their partner (i.e., the child's biological parent) was deceased.ConclusionThese findings articulate the central role of the biological mother in postseparation families and the ambiguous position of the stepmother and “widowed stepparents.”",
keywords = "DIVORCE, FAMILY, GENDER, INTERGENERATIONAL SUPPORT, MARRIAGE, MOTHERS, PARENTS, PERCEPTIONS, REMARRIAGE, gender, intergenerational relationships, intergenerational transfers, motherhood, stepfamilies, young adulthood",
author = "{van Houdt}, Kirsten and Matthijs Kalmijn and Katya Ivanova",
year = "2020",
doi = "10.1111/jomf.12599",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Marriage and the Family",
issn = "0022-2445",
publisher = "NATL COUNCIL FAMILY RELATIONS",

}

Stepparental support to adult children : The diverging roles of stepmothers and stepfathers. / van Houdt, Kirsten; Kalmijn, Matthijs; Ivanova, Katya.

In: Journal of Marriage and the Family, 2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stepparental support to adult children

T2 - The diverging roles of stepmothers and stepfathers

AU - van Houdt, Kirsten

AU - Kalmijn, Matthijs

AU - Ivanova, Katya

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - ObjectiveThis study examines the support from stepparents to adult children and considers the role of the composition of the parent network, that is, the presence or absence of the biological mother or father.BackgroundGoing beyond previous research that compared the support provided by different types of parental households, this study provides deeper insights into adult stepfamily dynamics by considering support transfers on the stepparent–stepchild dyad level.MethodThe analyses were based on data from the Ouders en Kinderen in Nederland (Parents and Children in the Netherlands) survey, which was conducted among a stratified random sample of Dutch adults (aged 25–45) with stepparents reporting on support from each of their stepparents (N = 4,351) and biological parents (N = 5,460) separately.ResultsThe results revealed different stories for stepmothers and stepfathers. Within‐child analyses showed that, controlled for the duration of coresidence, children received less types of support from their stepmother than from their biological mother, whereas among fathers, the stepfather provided more. When compared between children, stepmothers provided less types of support if their stepchild's biological mother was still alive, whereas stepfathers' support was unaffected by the biological father's presence. Stepparents of both genders provided less types of support if their partner (i.e., the child's biological parent) was deceased.ConclusionThese findings articulate the central role of the biological mother in postseparation families and the ambiguous position of the stepmother and “widowed stepparents.”

AB - ObjectiveThis study examines the support from stepparents to adult children and considers the role of the composition of the parent network, that is, the presence or absence of the biological mother or father.BackgroundGoing beyond previous research that compared the support provided by different types of parental households, this study provides deeper insights into adult stepfamily dynamics by considering support transfers on the stepparent–stepchild dyad level.MethodThe analyses were based on data from the Ouders en Kinderen in Nederland (Parents and Children in the Netherlands) survey, which was conducted among a stratified random sample of Dutch adults (aged 25–45) with stepparents reporting on support from each of their stepparents (N = 4,351) and biological parents (N = 5,460) separately.ResultsThe results revealed different stories for stepmothers and stepfathers. Within‐child analyses showed that, controlled for the duration of coresidence, children received less types of support from their stepmother than from their biological mother, whereas among fathers, the stepfather provided more. When compared between children, stepmothers provided less types of support if their stepchild's biological mother was still alive, whereas stepfathers' support was unaffected by the biological father's presence. Stepparents of both genders provided less types of support if their partner (i.e., the child's biological parent) was deceased.ConclusionThese findings articulate the central role of the biological mother in postseparation families and the ambiguous position of the stepmother and “widowed stepparents.”

KW - DIVORCE

KW - FAMILY

KW - GENDER

KW - INTERGENERATIONAL SUPPORT

KW - MARRIAGE

KW - MOTHERS

KW - PARENTS

KW - PERCEPTIONS

KW - REMARRIAGE

KW - gender

KW - intergenerational relationships

KW - intergenerational transfers

KW - motherhood

KW - stepfamilies

KW - young adulthood

U2 - 10.1111/jomf.12599

DO - 10.1111/jomf.12599

M3 - Article

JO - Journal of Marriage and the Family

JF - Journal of Marriage and the Family

SN - 0022-2445

ER -