Research Program: An Overview


The program of research at the Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta has three distinct divisions:

1) Surveys: The surveys you will find on this web site typically address areas of important concern for most stepfamilies. They invite the respondent: a) to outline a problem as it appeared in their particular circumstances, and then b) to report how they solved the problem. The purpose of these surveys is to identify a range of strategies that will resolve difficulties that stepfamilies typically encounter. As this information arrives, we study it very carefully in an effort to to identify which strategies work best under which conditions. Once a consistent picture begins to emerge, we include the strategy as one of a number of possibilities that families taking our courses might consider using if they are encountering this problem and their circumstances are similar. We then track how successful that strategy proved to be for them.  

2) Tests and Measures:  The goal of our work in this area is to be able to quickly identify and quantify important difficulties a stepfamily is encountering so that appropriate strategies can be put into place.  The Problem List is one such project that has been completed and is currently available online for the free use of visitors to this website. It compares respondents' ratings across 48 problem areas to ratings of the average stepfamily. This enables the user to identify those problem spots that are marked and needing focused attention; and to be able to differentiate them from problems that are very likely to clear up on their own, with just the passage of time. Click here to see how your stepfamily compares.

Another measure, that is soon to be available for automated online use, is the Stepfamily Stress Index (SSI). The SSI was designed to assess a number of factors that are important for the effective functioning of stepfamilies. Our research involving many hundreds of stepfamilies, shows that this instrument: a) enables us to quickly and accurately identify major factors causing stress in a particular stepfamily so that b) effective interventions can be prescribed to relieve the stepfamily's stress. Click here for more information about the SSI.

The Stepparent Survey (SPS) is currently under development. It was designed to: a) provide a comprehensive overview of your family's current level of development and functioning across a total of 15 different areas. Click here for more information about the SPS.

3) Formal Research Studies:  The Foundation serves as the host for graduate students conducting formal research studies into stepfamilies.  Graduate students wishing to complete their thesis or dissertation research at the Foundation are encouraged to submit a summary of their research proposal to the Foundation for review.  Our contact information is:  

The Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Phone: (403) 245-5744   



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Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta