Phenomenological investigation of teenage girls' life experience in stepfamilies and relationship with stepmother

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Master's Degree in Counseling, Faculty of Humanities, Azad University, Electronic Unit, Tehran, Iran.

3 PhD in Counseling, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor, Counseling Department, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Al-Zahra University (S), Tehran, Iran.

5 Assistant Professor, Counseling Department, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Al-Zahra University., Tehran, Iran.


The purpose of this research was to investigate the phenomenon of the life experience of teenage girls in relation to the stepmother. The research method was a qualitative type of interpretative phenomenology. The study population was 25 adolescent girls aged 11 to 16 years old in the 9th district of Tehran, who were selected and participated in the study using the purposeful sampling method and up to the point of information saturation. A semi-structured interview was used to collect data. After recording each interview, the extracted content was implemented word by word on paper. Data coding continued simultaneously with data collection. Data analysis was done using Van Manen's method (2016) in 6 steps. A total of 368 primary codes, 92 primary concepts, 12 sub-themes and 2 main themes were obtained from 25 interviews. The main themes include "challenges and obstacles" with sub-themes "emotional-cognitive disturbance; multiple deficits; lack of time and attention; negative perception of the stepparent; Conflicts of loyalty; erosive conflict; strict control and enforcement of rules; and role ambiguity" and "opportunities and resources" including "dedicating enough time and attention; support and care; wider support network and more resources; and learning and personal growth. The results showed that adapting to the changes caused by parents' remarriage and being in a stepfamily is a time-consuming process for teenagers, which will increase or decrease depending on various individual and interpersonal factors. Also, along with the existing injuries in such families, successful coping strategies are adopted and used by some families and teenagers, which can be considered in family counseling


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 12 February 2024
  • Receive Date: 04 July 2023
  • Revise Date: 11 December 2023
  • Accept Date: 12 February 2024