A1 Journal article (refereed)
Stepmothers’ constructions and negotiations of belonging (2020)

Murtorinne-Lahtinen, M., & Jokinen, K. (2020). Stepmothers’ constructions and negotiations of belonging. Journal of Family Studies, 26 (1), 51-66. doi:10.1080/13229400.2017.1308877

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Murtorinne-Lahtinen, Minna; Jokinen, Kimmo

Journal or series: Journal of Family Studies

ISSN: 1322-9400

eISSN: 1839-3543

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 26

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 51-66

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2017.1308877

Open Access: Publication channel is not openly available

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68003


Applying a narrative approach and symbolic interactionist frame of reference, this study examines how Finnish stepmothers in their written narratives construct and negotiate their belonging. Belonging is a relevant concept in this study since it focuses on social interaction and intersubjectivity, and their emotional content. Three types of belonging were identified: (a) restricted belonging, (b) dyadic stepmother–stepchild belonging and (c) the spousal relationship as a focal dyad of belonging. Attainment of belonging may be especially challenging for stepmothers owing to their dependence on the willingness of the biological mother and father to share the emotional dimension of the parent–child dyad. If stepmothers fail to achieve any aspect of belonging, they are vulnerable to depression. This, in turn, indicates a need for clinical intervention. In sum, the results point to the key role of the spouses in enhancing stepmothers’ sense of belonging.

Keywords: reconstituted families; stepmothers; family relations; narrative analysis

Free keywords: belonging; narrative approach

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2020-09-07 at 23:13