Current Knowledge About Child Abuse in Stepfamilies
Each year, approximately one million cases of child abuse are reported and confirmed in the United States (Finkelhor, 1994). According to most studies, child abuse occurs in stepfamilies at higher rates than in natal families, but there are many unanswered questions about the accuracy of this claim and its causes. This paper will: (a) examine major studies on rates of child abuse in stepfamilies, (b) compare theoretical perspectives applied to this issue, and (c) discuss implications for research and practice. Gaining a full understanding of this issue will contribute to the research on how remarriages influence the development of increasing numbers of children and adolescents and will provide clearer guidelines for stepfamilies and practitioners.