Former stepparents' contact with their stepchildren after midlife.

TitleFormer stepparents' contact with their stepchildren after midlife.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNoël-Miller, C
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2013 May
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Child, Family Characteristics, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Marital Status, Middle Aged, Parent-Child Relations, Parents, Social Support, Young Adult

OBJECTIVES: Based on the life course perspective and gender differences in stepparental roles, this study examines frequency of social contact between mid- to late-life stepparents and their stepchildren after stepparents' marriage to their stepchildren's biological parent has been dissolved through widowhood or divorce.

METHOD: Using 5 waves of panel data on stepparent-stepchild pairs from the Health and Retirement Study (N = 12,947 stepchild observations on 4,063 stepchildren belonging to 1,663 stepparents) spanning 10 years (1998-2008), I estimate ordered logit multilevel models predicting former stepparent-stepchild contact frequency.

RESULTS: Results indicate that former stepparents have notably less frequent contact with their stepchildren than current stepparents, particularly following divorce. Widowed stepparents' contact with their stepchildren diminishes gradually following union disruption, whereas divorced stepparents' contact frequency drops abruptly. Former stepfathers have less contact with their stepchildren than former stepmothers. Finally, I uncover evidence of the moderating role of (step)parents' marriage length and stepparents' number of biological children on widowed stepparent-stepchild contact frequency.

DISCUSSION: Older stepparents' social contact with their stepchildren is largely conditional on stepparents' enduring marital bond to their stepchildren's biological parent. This study contributes to a growing literature portraying relatively weak ties between older adults and their stepchildren.


Copyright - Copyright Oxford University Press, UK May 2013 Last updated - 2013-04-19 DOI - 2948942401; 77441762; 9698; PGN2; INODPGN20000698908

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Middle age/Stepfamilies/intergenerational Transfers/Intergenerational relationships

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key7816
PubMed ID23591569
PubMed Central IDPMC3693606
Grant ListP30 AG017266 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States