Marital Power in Stepfather Families: A Test of Normative-Resource Theory

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett, Jean Giles-Sims

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Abstract

A model of normative-resource theory of marital power in remarriage was developed and tested with a sample of 87 stepfather families with an adolescent stepchild residing in the home. Family members responded to questions assessing (a) family structure and process, (b) resources of the spouses, and (c) decision making in four domains: money, the marital relationship, marital sex, and parenting. Regression analyses identified the normative and resource bases of marital power in each domain. The results identified an egalitarian style of decision making in the domains of money, marital sex, and the marital relationship, but wife dominance in the domain of parenting. The results also supported the utility of normative-resource theory in predicting marital power in remarried couples. Power of a stepfather to parent his stepchild was associated with being happy as a single person and financially supporting the stepchild. Wives had more power in decisions about the marital relationship when they had been happy as a single parent. Husbands' legal adoptions of stepchildren were associated with more power in marital sex. Theoretical, research, and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-496
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1991

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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