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Child Abuse in Stepfamilies

Jean Giles-Sims and David Finkelhor
Family Relations
Vol. 33, No. 3, Remarriage and Stepparenting (Jul., 1984), pp. 407-413
DOI: 10.2307/584711
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/584711
Page Count: 7
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Child Abuse in Stepfamilies
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Abstract

There is an often repeated presumption that children are at increased risk of abuse at the hands of stepparents. This paper tries to initiate a more formal examination of the evidence and theory related to this idea. Although evidence from reported cases suggests that stepparents are overrepresented among abusers, the available data are inadequate to determine the nature of the relationship between the stepfamily structure and child abuse. Five theories that can or have been used to explain this presumed relationship are evaluated here: social-evolutionary, normative, stress, selection and resource theory.

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