A content analysis of eleven scholarly journals: What has been written about adolescents' interpersonal relationship in stepfamilies




Foriest, Nkechi

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The purpose of this study was to ascertain what is being written about adolescents interpersonal relationships in stepfamilies in eleven scholarly journals: Family Process, Family Relations, Journal of Marriage and Family, American Journal of Family Therapy, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Journal of Family Psychology, Journal of Research on Adolescence, Adolescence, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, and American Journal of Orthopsychiatry from 2003 to 2013. This research study utilized the content analysis method. The sample for this project was delimited to the articles in all issues of the selected journals. Each article was read and analyzed by the principal investigator. The results of the content analysis were reported using quantitative methods to determine the frequencies of articles that contained the appropriate combination of terms searched and the total number of articles on the topic of adolescents in stepfamilies, including which discipline generated those articles. The primary content themes were presented qualitatively. There was a total of 6,413 articles, thirteen of those (0.202%) addressed adolescents interpersonal relationships in stepfamilies. Of the eleven selected scholarly journals, only three journals addressed this topic. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage generated the majority of the articles, containing 2.295% of its total of published articles. Journal of Marriage and Family had 0.311% of its total of published articles, and Journal of Family Psychology had 0.105% of its total of published articles. The Five major themes which emerged after rounds of the coding process by three separate investigators are boundary and role ambiguity, social capital, bonding, loss and pain, and adjustment to change. There is limited empirical research on adolescents interpersonal relationships in stepfamilies and not much has been written in the field of family therapy about how to work with this population. Family therapists can have crucial role to play in enhancing interpersonal relationships in stepfamilies and the processes of healthy stepfamily development. A discussion of results was presented, and implications and recommendations for future studies were given.