The Experience and Expression of Stepchildren's Emotions at Critical Events in Stepfamily Life

Sandra Metts, Dawn O. Braithwaite, Paul Schrodt, Tiffany R. Wang, Amanda Holman, Audra K. Nuru, Jenna Stephenson Abetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


This study explored the experience and expression of emotions of adult stepchildren during four critical events in stepfamily life. During semistructured, in-depth interviews, 57 adult stepchildren shared stories about four critical events: the parental divorce, remarriage of one of the parents, an event in the stepfamily that generated feeling more like a family, and an event in the stepfamily that generated feeling less like a family. A total of 402 pages of single-spaced transcripts were coded for emotion, target, and expression of emotion resulting in positive and negative emotion categories and subcategories for all four critical events. Five research questions centered on the emotions commonly experienced during the four aforementioned critical events, the targets of disclosure, and the patterns that indicate a tendency to manage emotion expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-437
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law
  • Demography

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