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.  

Two of our current surveys focus on problems that are central for many stepfamilies : a) Dealing with the Ex, and b) Money and Finances.  You are invited to complete either or both of these surveys by clicking on to their menu items in the frame on the left.  They appear under the Research heading. Click here to read more about our survey research.

Our most recent survey research projects focus upon a) stepparenting styles and b) stepparent self assessment. Click here to learn more about the stepparenting styles survey. Click here to learn more about the Stepparent Self Assessment survey.

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.  Two projects are currently under way.  The first, The Problem List, is designed to provide a benchmark for the level of difficulty a stepfamily can expect across a wide range of concerns.  At this point in time, we are able to provide our respondents with the average stepfamily ratings for each problem area included in the Problem List.  Soon we will be able to provide percentile scores and severity ratings for each of these problem areas.  This will help stepfamilies to identify those problem spots that are marked and needing focused attention.

The second measure currently under development is the Stepfamily Stress Index (SSI). The SSI was designed to assess a number of organizational factors that are important for the effective functioning of stepfamilies.  Our hope is that this instrument a) will enable us to quickly and accurately identify those factors causing stress in a particular stepfamily so that b) effective interventions can be prescribed to relieve the stepfamily's stress.  You are invited to assist in the development of either or both of these measures by clicking on to their menu items in the frame on the left.  They appear under the Research heading.

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 address is:  

The Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta

Suite 201, 4803 Centre Street NW 

Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2E 2Z6

phone:  403.245.5744  

fax: 403.228.4270


          Click here to access reports of research studies completed by individuals affiliated with the Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta.


The information contained on this page is for the personal use of stepfamily members visiting the Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta web site. All other use, reproduction, distribution or storage of this work, in whole or in part, by any and all means, without the express written permission of the author, is strictly prohibited.


The Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta 2008