Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Social and Personal Relationships16:3 (June 1999), pp. 291–313.


Copyright © 1999 Sage Publications. Used by permission.


A modified retrospective interview technique (RIT) was employed with members of 53 blended families to determine the types of turning points they reported experiencing and the developmental trajectories of their respective blended family’s first 4 years. Findings revealed 15 primary types of turning points, of which “Changes in Household Configuration,” “Conflict,” “Holidays/Special Events,” “Quality Time,” and “Family Crisis” were the most frequent. A cluster analysis revealed five basic trajectories of development for the first 48 months of family development: Accelerated, Prolonged, Stagnating, Declining, and High-Amplitude Turbulent. The trajectories differed in the overall positive-to-negative valence ratio, the frequency of conflict related events, the average amplitude of change in feeling like a family, and the current reported level of feeling like a family.