FACTORS AFFECTING SATISFACTION IN THE STEPFAMILY COUPLE
This study was designed to assess the effectiveness of eight factors in predicting marital satisfaction in stepfamily couples. Based upon the demographic variables utilized in marital satisfaction research upon first-married couples, the following variables were selected: social position as determined by the Two-Factor Index of Social Position (Hollingshead, 1958), religion, frequency of religious activity, sex of stepparent, age of stepchildren, presence or absence of a child from the present relationship, relocation into home new to the relationship, and contact with the non-custodial biological parent. Ninety remarried couples who had married during 1977 were chosen from the Marriage License Bureau in Montgomery County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. One-third of the sample were stepfather couples, one-third were stepmother couples, and the final third were couples in which both spouses were stepparents. Each couple had at least one child under the age of 18 in residence. Subjects were contacted by telephone and filled out questionnaires in their homes. The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976) was used to measure marital satisfaction and a demographic questionnaire secured data regarding the independent variables. It was hypothesized that a combination of the predictor variables would account for a significant proportion of the variance of the criterion variable (satisfaction). Results of a forward selection multiple regression analysis did not confirm this hypothesis. When individual multiple regression analyses were performed separately for the three groups, differences became apparent. Within the Stepfather group, the variables of being Jewish, presence of child from the present relationship, being Protestant, and frequency of religious activity were the most related to satisfaction. This combination of variables accounted for 27 percent of the variance and approached significance at the .05 level. In the Stepmother group, the variables of relocate, age of children (younger), being Jewish, being Protestant, having no religion, and absence of a child from the present relationship predicted couple satisfaction at the .05 level of significance (R = .42). With the Stepmother-Stepfather group, social position and presence of a child from the present relationship significantly predicted satisfaction at the .01 level (R = .38).