Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Family Consumer Human Development


David Schramm


Brian Higginbotham


Kay Bradford


There are two studies in this dissertation. Both are about couples in a stepfamily who attended stepfamily education called, Smart Steps: Embrace the Journey. The first study explored how 13 Latino stepcouples felt the concepts they learned in stepfamily education influenced their couple relationship, parenting, and their family. Participants ranged in age from 25 to 43. They were interviewed two years after participating in the course. They talked about positive changes that happened in their couple relationship, parenting relationship, and their family as a result of participating in stepfamily education. It was also found that the course helped them to improve their stepparent/stepchild relationship. The second study examined how one Latino stepcouples’ journey unfolded after participation, and the subsequent experiences that occurred when their stepchildren moved in with them. They were interviewed right after the course was completed, one year later, and two years later. Their story is told from when the couple met, having two biological children, and then moving five stepchildren into their home. They explained how the concepts they learned helped their stepfamily. Future studies on Latino stepfamilies and the strengths and weaknesses of these studies are discussed.