Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family Environment

First Advisor

Rosalie Huisinga Norem


Longitudinal survey data from a nine-state family stress project are analyzed in two separate but related analyses. Intact biological families are compared with remarried families on a variety of demographic, stressor, and negative manifestation of stress measures in order to ascertain the extent and the nature of family group differences on these measures;In a first analysis, a multiple analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) design is utilized on time-one data only in order to test the generally accepted propositions that stepfamilies experience more stressors and negative manifestations of stress than do first families. Results do not support either of these propositions, possibly indicating that lingering sociocultural bias against stepfamilies continues to prejudice first family/stepfamily comparisons;A second line of inquiry compares stepfamilies and first families across time by contrasting Pearson correlation coefficients of stressors, negative manifestations of stress, and a variety of demographic variables in order to infer some ways in which the stress process might differ between the two family forms. The results are ambiguous, with no overall patterns manifest. Generally, findings indicate significantly fewer differences between first families and stepfamilies than had previously been thought to be the case. While these results support a recent body of work critical of the "deficit comparison" approach that has formed the basis of most research central to the field, they also raise questions about attacks upon this approach predicated on a belief in the relative diversity and complexity of stepfamilies vis-a-vis intact biological families.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Alan Howard Zeppa



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

156 pages