Social & Education Policy

Obstacles and Opportunities Experienced by Adult Stepchildren in Later Life Stepfamilies

Mikucki-Enyart, S.L.; Heisdorf, S.R.


The present study examined adult stepchildren’s perspectives regarding their later life stepfamilies. Twenty-six adult stepchildren who experienced parental divorce and remarriage in adulthood, defined as 18 years of age or older, participated in semi-structured, qualitative interviews. Results revealed that adult stepchildren experienced both obstacles and opportunities in their later life stepfamily. Challenges encompassed “feeling caught,” terms of address, and balancing family membership. Opportunities reflected stepparent’s positive impact and positive stepsibling and extended family relationships. Results are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical contributions.