Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


School of Psychology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Diedre Drake

Second Advisor

Dr Diane McKillop


The present study investigated public perceptions of stepfathers' obligation to financially support stepchildren. Two hundred Australians completed vignette-based questionnaires assessing normative expectations of stepfathers financial contribution. A 2 x 2 x 2 between-subjects design was used to assess the effects of marital status, maternal employment, and prior child support commitments on perceived obligations to stepchildren. Most participants believed stepfathers should contribute financially, but responses varied greatly. Defacto relationships and maternal employment reduced obligation. A significant 3-way interaction was also found. Qualitative responses were analysed from a normative expectations and distributive justice perspective. Findings support the use and integration of these theories in studying stepfamily responsibilities. Implications and areas for future research were discussed