Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family, Consumer, and Human Development


Brian J. Higginbotham


ABSTRACT Despite the increasing prevalence of remarriages over the last several decades, little work has been done in establishing theories and models specific to remarried couples and stepfamilies. To address this gap, the multidimensional cognitive development model for individuals in stepfamilies was utilized. To evaluate the model, this study tested the consistency tenet, which is central to the model. Consistency of cognitions is assumed to be of primary importance in stepfamily relationships and a balanced system is one that is defined by consistency of cognitions. Data were analyzed from the "Relationship Quality and Stability in Utah Newlywed Remarriages" study. With a sample of 447 husband and wife couples, paired sample t tests and hierarchical regression were completed. The results indicate that individual endorsements of remarriage beliefs are more predictive of remarital outcomes than is consistency of cognitions between husband and wife. A critique of the multidimensional cognitive development model is discussed. Limitations of the current study are addressed and recommendations for future research are given.