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Social Representations of the Stepfather's Parenting Commitment in the Reconstituted Family

Claudine Parent, Madeleine Beaudry, Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques, Daniel Turcotte, Caroline Robitaille, Marie Boutin, Catherine Turbide

In this paper we are presenting the results of a study of the social representations of a stepfather’s parental commitment (a stepfather being someone other than the biological or adoptive father of his spouse’s children) by different members of the blended families: eight mothers, twelve stepfathers and nine biological fathers. The aim of the study is to reach an understanding of how the adults in such families perceive the role of stepfather to the children concerned and to probe the dimensions of the parental commitment of these stepfathers. The results show that certain interpretations of their role appear to be shared more particularly by the parents, while others seem to be more specific to the stepfathers.