Date of Conferral
The dynamics of the modern blended family is a topic of considerable interest in family research. The purpose of this quantitative study was to understand how parental stress, perceived parental regard, and depressive symptoms affect nonresidential and residential stepmothers. Family Systems Theory provided an appropriate lens for this research study. An analysis of covariance was used to determine whether differences existed between nonresidential and residential stepmothers in terms of parental stress, perceived parental regard, and depressive symptoms. The second goal was to determine whether the covariates of age, ethnicity, household income, time spent stepparenting, and the number of biological and stepchildren affected the variables in a meaningful way. The participants selected for the study were both nonresidential and residential stepmothers, 18 years and older. Participants completed a web-based survey that administered three different instruments: The Perceived Child Regard Questionnaire, the Parental Stress Scale, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Revised. A total sample size of 94 nonresidential stepmothers and 79 residential stepmothers completed the survey. Results indicated no significant differences in parental stress and depressive symptoms due to custody status. However, there was a significant effect noted between nonresidential and residential stepmothers pertaining to perceived child regard. These findings provide a valuable direction for researchers who wish to further explore stepfamily concepts especially concerning variables that may attribute to the differences in custody status and perceived child regard. As well as provide psychoeducation for stepfamilies and their community.