The dyad is not enough

Third-party mediation as a precondition for cohesion in long-term step relationships

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.37062/sf.58.22041

Nyckelord:

life course, linked lives, mediating relationships, older step-parents, step relationships

Abstract

The increasing prevalence of ageing stepfamilies and the potential of stepchildren to act as a source of support for older parents have increased the interest in long-term intergenerational step relationships. Applying a life-course perspective combined with Simmel’s theorizing on social dynamics, this exploratory study aims to investigate the preconditions for cohesion in long-term intergenerational step relationships. The study is based on interviews with 13 older parents, aged 66–79, who have raised both biological children and stepchildren. Retrospective life-course interviews were used to capture the development of step relationships over time. Interviews were analysed following the principles of analytical induction. The results reveal four central third-party relationships that are important for cohesion in intergenerational step relationships over time, involving: (1) the intimate partner; (2) the non-residential parent; (3) the bridge child; and (4) the stepchild-in-law. The findings have led to the conclusion that if we are to understand the unique conditions for cohesion in long-term intergenerational step relationships, we cannot simply compare biological parent–child dyads with step dyads, because the step relationship is essentially a mediated relationship.

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Publicerad

2021-12-14

Referera så här

Bildtgård, T., Winqvist, M. och Öberg, P. (2021) ”The dyad is not enough: Third-party mediation as a precondition for cohesion in long-term step relationships”, Sociologisk Forskning, 58(3), s. 217–242. doi: 10.37062/sf.58.22041.

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