Parent-Child Relationships in Stepfather Families and Adolescent Adjustment: A Latent Class Analysis

Paul R. Amato, Valarie King, Maggie L. Thorsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


In the current study the authors drew on Waves I and III from Add Health to examine the closeness of parent-adolescent relationships in married mother-stepfather families (N=1,934). They used latent class analysis to identify family constellations defined by adolescents' relationships with all of their parents: mothers, stepfathers, and biological nonresident fathers. In particular, the authors (a) identified the most common underlying patterns of adolescent-parent relationships in stepfamilies; (b) determined the background characteristics that predict membership in these groups; and (c) examined how adolescents in these groups fare with respect to depressive symptoms, delinquency, and substance use. The results indicate that adolescents' relationships can be represented with 4 latent classes. Adolescents in these classes differ on measures of adjustment, and many of these differences persist into the early adult years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-497
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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