Stepparent Stigmatization and Quality of Stepfamily Life

You have been invited to participate in this research study, being conducted by Katie Neary Dunleavy, Ph.D, and Matthew M. Martin, Ph.D. This project is being conducted as professional research in the Communication Department at La Salle University. Participation is voluntary, and you are free to discontinue participation at any time.

The purpose of this study is to understand how stepparents view possible stigmatization of their role. In obtaining this information, we are interested in how stigma is related to the perceptions of marital quality and stepfamily life, in general.

This study involves completing an online survey. It will take approximately 20 minutes for you to complete. After you have completed the survey, you will log off of the secured, online website. It is not anticipated or expected that you will experience any discomforts or risks while completing this survey.

It is especially useful for stepparents to understand how they are viewed and how this influences their perceptions of their families. Stepparents are also an understudied population of stigmatized individuals, and as this is a becoming an increasingly common role, we need to understand how stigmas are changing. The research will provide clarity in this area, possibly to other members of the stepfamily as well, and will offer implications for the ways stigmatization influences communication.

Any information about you obtained as a result of my participation in this research will be kept as confidential as legally possible. Specifically, the materials will be kept in the locked office of the contact person named above for up to two years. After two years, the records will be permanently deleted, and any hard copies will be shredded. Keep in mind that research records, just like hospital records, may be subpoenaed by court order or may be inspected by the study sponsor or federal regulatory authorities without additional consent. However, no identifying information from you is required to participate, and your results cannot be linked to your identifying information.
For more information about this research you can contact Katie Dunleavy by phone at 215.991.3520, by mail at La Salle University, 1900 West Olney Avenue, Communication Department, Philadelphia, PA, 19144 and by email at If you would like to know the results of the research study, you can contact Katie Dunleavy, otherwise you will not be informed of the results. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights as a research participant, please contact Randy Fingerhut, Ph.D. Chair of the Institutional Review Board, Department of Psychology, La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA 19141 Telephone: 215-951-1284,

Question Title

* 1. By answering yes, you are confirming that you are currently a stepparent and you are consenting to participate in this study.