Stepchildren Adopted by Their Stepparents: Where Do They Fit?

Susan D. Stewart, Iowa State University

Stepchild adoption is the most common form of adoption in the United States. Very little is known about the circumstances under which stepchildren are adopted by their stepparents and how they fare relative to other children. This study draws upon the 2002 National Survey of America’s Families and investigates the sociodemographic characteristics and well-being of adopted stepchildren. Adopted stepchildren in married parent households are compared to children with two married biological parents, two married adoptive parents, and children with one married biological parent and one (non-adoptive) stepparent. Preliminary results indicate that adopted stepchildren have an increased risk of negative outcomes in the area of behavior and emotional problems. Results indicating that adopted stepchildren are most similar to children with two adoptive parents as opposed to one biological parent and one stepparent suggest that researchers need to be cautious about treating adopted stepchildren as stepchildren.

  See paper

Presented in Session 25: Child Wellbeing in Nontraditional Households