Emotional and Economic Interdependence Within Remarried Couples With Stepchildren: A Mixed Methods Examination
Financial management practices have been identified as 1 of the top 2 reasons for remarriage failure, resulting in significant costs to society. The extent to which spouses trust and feel emotionally bonded is assumed to be indicated by how they blend their household monies, however, no studies have measured these variables. From a family systems perspective, this grounded theory, mixed methods, collective case study explored the emotional and financial interdependence of 48 remarried couples with stepchildren. Quantitative measures were obtained through spouses’ completion of 3 standardized instruments that assessed dyadic trust, cohesion, and adjustment. These scores were then correlated with spouses’ degree of commingled monies. No significant correlations emerged, suggesting that the degree of commingled monies did not relate to spousal level of trust, cohesion, or adjustment. Ten couples participated in a semistructured interview that explored perceptions and beliefs about financial management practices. A triadic coding system was used to analyze the data obtained through interviews. Security emerged as the overarching and reciprocal factor that influenced emotional connectedness and financial practices. Implications for positive social change may include helping professionals understand the importance of didactic and dynamic approaches to prepare and assist couples for emotional and financial interdependency within the remarriage context. Such interventions might promote remarriage quality and stability, thereby, reducing these families’ risk for divorce, benefiting both the stepfamilies and society.