It is predicted that children who are exposed to a stepfamily environment are more at risk to juvenile offending, nicotine dependence, sexual risk taking, and other types of negative behavior. Although the results from my research did not support most of what other researchers have found. We did find support on sexual risk taking. Effects of Living in a Blended Family vs. Non-Blended Family There has been much research done on children growing up in stepfamily environments and not all results were the same.
Some researchers have found evidence that girls are less well-adjusted than boys in parental remarriage and in other cases the opposite was reported, where boys were less well-adjusted than girls (Nicholson, & Fergusson, 1999). There have been other studies focused on the stepparents and have found that they are more depressed than non-stepparents which is affecting the children since they do not put much attention to them as they normally should (Dunn, & Deater-Deckard, 1998). In the 1960’s almost 75% of all children were living with their biological parents and married to each other (Dawson, 1991).
stepparent Dunn and Deater-Deckard (1998) mentioned that the stepparents are more depressed than non-stepparents. There is no actual reason for why that is, but this causes the depressed stepparent more likely to not respond sensitively to the children’s needs. In this case the parents will not monitor effectively the behavior of their kids. The kids will begin to notice when this is happening which might be one of the causes of the children’s negative behavior. Children will begin to behave differently at home and school. This may lead to more freedom and less adult supervision for the child.
If the child is in their teens they might begin to skip school and start falling behind in their school work. Other studies have researched that stepparents show less concern than the biological parents. Parents that show low degrees of parent love towards a step child should be more likely to abuse the child. Having a stepparent increases the risks for a child to be abused in any way, shape, or form. This can be explained by the kin selection theory, also known as the Cinderella effect (Temrin, Nordlund, Rying, & Tullberg, 2011).
When children do not get the attention and care they need, they begin to fall behind socially and academically as well. This not only affects the child’s mental health but their future to dream and to continue their education. Child maltreatment may lead to criminality in general when they grow older. In a study done it was concluded that “…severe maltreatment of children is often associated with other criminal and antisocial behavior, both inside and outside the family” (Temrin et al. , 2011).
This means that if children grow up being maltreated whether they are in a stepfamily environment or not they are more likely to commit a criminal activity and have antisocial behavior. Having said that, children that are exposed to stepparents they are more likely to have been maltreated; therefore, they are more likely to be involved with criminal and antisocial behavior. Children being exposed to living in a stepfamily between the ages of 6 and 16 are more at risk to juvenile offending, nicotine dependence, abuse or dependence on illicit substances, leaving school, early onset of sexual activity, and having multiple sexual partners.
These children also scored lower on teacher ratings of social competence and academic performance. They had more school absences, tardiness, and discipline problems than those students from non-stepfamilies (Nicholson, & Fergusson, 1999). Throughout the years children living in a stepfamily environment have increased. Back in the 1960s the percentage of children living with both their biological parents was up to 75% dropping to about 56% in 1990s.
It has been predicted that one-fourth of today’s children will spend some time with a stepfamily; one-third will experience their parents divorce, and half living with a single parent by the age of 16. Studies have found that children from divorced families have more problems than children from one parent families or biological parents (Dawson, 1991). Current Study It is predicted that students from blended families will have more negative behaviors, such as, sexual risk taking, nicotine dependence, juvenile offending, etc. , and more school problems.
The purpose of this study is to provide the effects of children living in a stepfamily environment and. If they did grow up in a stepfamily, comparing them to the other participants that grew up with their biological parents and see if there is an effect on their academic performance or if they have any past criminal or antisocial behavior. Methods Participants College students from Eastern Washington University will be participating in this study. It is predicted that students that have been in stepfamily settings will have history with some problems. And students living with both their biological parent Materials
There will be a survey conducted online asking participants how well they have done academically, determining it by asking their cumulative GPA. There will be other questions such as if they were introduced to a stepfamily during ages 6 to 16 years of age since these are the ages that are affected the most while during their development. Then, there are questions about using illegal substances, alcohol use as a minor, and if they have ever been arrested will be asked. Procedure This study will only be posted online and will be conducted in Eastern Washington University.
It will be open to all students of Eastern Washington University currently attending. This will be an online survey where students will have a choice of taking it or not. If they decide to take it they will choose the URL link that will take them to the survey. Since this will be an anonymous survey and it will not affect them in any way, they will be asked to answer as honest as they can. Also, they will be told that they do not need to answer certain questions if the participant does not feel comfortable answering them. After the participants have taken the survey I
will review all the answers that the participants answered with a group of classmates. I will separate all of the students into groups. The groups will be separated by how their biological parents’ current status is. If their parents are married they will go there, if their parents are divorced they will go there and etc. after doing this I will compare if they have any criminal or antisocial behavior. It is predicted that the students that were introduced to step families during the ages of 6 to 16 will be the ones with the more struggle and the negative behavior that was talked about earlier.
Results The students were placed into two groups which were blended and non-blended families. They were placed into blended families if they had been introduced to stepfamily environment at any point of their life before age 18. If they were not introduced into a stepfamily environment before age 18 they were placed in the non-blended group. These two groups were compared in their sexual activity score, working during college, and drug scores using an independent-samples t test. In the sex score, the mean of the blended family was higher (m=13.
800, sd=4. 970) than non-blended family group (m=9. 714, sd=2. 091). With the working students, the mean of the blended family was lower (m=12. 286, sd=3. 546) than the non-blended family (m=13. 063, sd=3. 623). Finally, in the last comparison was the use of drugs, where the mean of the blended family was lower (m=17. 286, sd=3. 988) than the non-blended family (m=19. 500, sd=5. 416). The results found on students having to work during college and using drugs was not significant when comparing them to their living environments.
We would retain the null hypothesis when it comes to these two findings mentioned. But for the students sexual activity there was significance. When comparing the blended family and the non-blended family to their sexual activity there was a significant difference between them (t(17)=2. 592, p < . 05). The mean was significantly higher in the blended family than in the non-blended family. Discussion It was predicted that students that were exposed to a stepfamily environment were more likely to have more negative behaviors such as drug abuse, more sexual activity, etc.
Our findings were that there was a significant difference in the sexual activity, but did not find a significant difference with the drug or criminal activity. Compared to previous findings some of my results were insignificant compared to them. Dawson (1991) had found kids from blended families being more aggressive and had higher rates of substance abuse which was not consistent with the results I had. Although, Dawson’s has found children growing up in a stepfamily environment in before the age of 16 were more sexually active.
Dunn and Deater-Deckard (1998) found that children growing up in stepfamilies were at greater risk for adjustment problems than those in families with the two biological parents. Other studies have found outcomes due to being in a stepfamily environment which include mental health problems, antisocial behavior, substance use and abuse, restricted education and employment outcomes, and sexual risk taking (Nicholson, & Fergusson, 1999). There were a few limitations to this experiment where there was not enough participants to have better results in our findings.
Even with a limited sample we found a significant difference with some of our results. The findings were that the participants who were more sexually active were the students who had been exposed to a stepfamily environment. Sixty-five percent of our participants were female. About sixty percent were between the ages of 22 and 23. About 80% were Caucasian. This study was done so others can see how a stepfamily environment can affect a child before the age of 18 and how they can prevent these effects on their children.
Before introducing their children to a stepfamily, the parent should research how to take precautions in presenting another family to them that will affect them in any way or form. This way the child gets the attention they need and deserve from their parents. The parents should also be aware of all the risks and supervise their child as needed. During the ages from 6 to 16 years of age children need a lot of their parents’ attention and parents should be extremely aware of that. References