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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Lesbian stepfamilies: a unique family structure

Author: Erera,-Pauline-I; Fredriksen,-Karen-I
Author Background:
Date 5/1/99
Type Journal
Journal Title: Families-in-Society
Volume/Pages v. 80 no3 p. 263-70
Subject Matter Gender Issues
Abstract This conceptual article examines the structure and dynamics of the lesbian stepfamily. It argues for adopting a strengths perspective by considering the lesbian stepfamily as a distinctive family style in its own right. Drawing upon the research literature on heterosexual stepfamilies, the article reviews the similarities and differences between these family styles. These include: parents gender; family variations; stereotypes and social attitudes toward nontraditional families; formal marriage; previous losses; residential and nonresidential family members; parenting; and ambiguous role expectations. The article advocates culturally-appropriate practice tailored to the needs of lesbians within their family systems and considers implications for social work research. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.