Attachment in the stepfamily : a social work perspective

Corrie, Lesley (2003-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since demographers are predicting that by the year 2010 stepfamilies will be the most prevalent type of family in the USA, it is not surprising that stepfamily members in South Africa also constitute a significant proportion of the clients of therapists, counsellors and social workers. From a developmental approach the present study examined attachment in stepfamilies with children in middle childhood. The literature review was focused on research fmdings related to the issues examined in the study. Information was collected using multiple informants and multiple methods. These included interviews, questionnaires and checklists of attachment behaviour symptoms. Because differences in perspectives were expected, information was sought from parents and target children in order to obtain a broad view of family attachment. The research design was qualitative and quantitative in nature. The main fmdings revealed that, although stepfamily members considered their families to be attached, factors such as the stepparent-stepchild relationship, length of marriage and unrealistic expectations had a negative influence on attachment. Findings confirm that attachment to the parents remain the primary source of security and that the child's willingness to participate in the partnership, influence attachment. The results clearly demonstrate that the children did not necessarily hold similar perceptions of the attachment in the family as the parents. Attachment theory provided a framework for understanding the complexities in stepfamily relationships. A synopsis of social work intervention with stepfamilies was developed based on an extensive literature study. Structured techniques within the five forms of play were used to consciously replicate healthy parent-child relationships in order to facilitate attachment. A central feature of the interventions discussed, is the active participation of the parent with whom the child is expected to learn to form an attachment relationship.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die lig van demograwe se voorspelling dat stiefgesinne teen die jaar 2010 die mees algemene gesinsvorm in die VSA gaan wees, is dit nie vreemd dat in Suid-Afrika stiefgesinne reeds 'n beduidende persentasie van terapeute, beraders en maatskaplike werkers se ladings uitmaak nie. Vanuit 'n ontwikkelings benadering is ondersoek ingestel na binding in stiefgesinne met 'n kind/ers in die middelkinderjare. Die literatuurstudie het verband gehou met veranderlikes wat in hierdie navorsing bestudeer is. Inligting is ingewin deur gebruik te maak van meervoudige respondente en metodes. Dit het onderhoude, vraelyste en 'n oorsiglys van bindingsgedrag ingesluit. Aangesien daar verwag is dat gesinslede se persepsies sal verskil, is kinders en ouers genader ten einde 'n breë oorsig te verkry van gesinsbinding. Beide kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe navorsingsmetodes is gebruik. Bevindinge het aan die lig gebring dat lede van stiefgesinne opvallend ooreenstem oor die binding in die gesin. Stiefouer-stiefkind verhoudings, die duur van die huwelik en onrealistiese verwagtinge is van die veranderlikes wat blyk 'n invloed te hê op die vorming van binding. Bevindinge bevestig dat kinders in die middelkinderjare se primêre binding steeds met die ouers is, maar dat hierdie binding afhanklik is van die kind se bereidheid om te deel in hierdie vennootskap. Resultate dui ook onteenseglik daarop dat die kinders en ouers nie noodwendig saamstem in hulle beoordeling van binding in die stiefgesin nie. Bindingsteorie het 'n raamwerk gebied vir die bestudering van die kompleksiteit van stiefgesin verhoudinge. Praktykgerigte maatskaplikwerk-hulpverleningstrategie~ is ontwikkel, gegrond op 'n uitgebreide literatuurstudie. Die strategieë is gestruktureerd en gegrond op vyf spelvorme met ondersteunende tegnieke. Deur normale bindingsgedrag tussen ouer en kind na te boots, word binding gefasiliteer. Die sentrale kenmerk van hierdie hulpverleningstrategieë is die aktiewe betrokkenheid van die stiefouer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53307
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