In this final chapter we want to accomplish two goals. First, we summarize what we think has been learned about stepfamily relationships in the last decade or so. Given the plethora of studies, we do not intend to catalog all of the new information that has been generated in that time period. Instead, we mention what we see as the highlights, general conclusions, and contributions that have led or likely will lead to even more growth in knowledge. Our second goal is to do what researchers are usually reluctant to do—make predictions about the future. Most scholars are so thoroughly trained in the necessity of making measured generalizations about phenomena, and of postulating only the most well-tempered conclusions, that students and other consumers of scholarly products (e.g., journalists) are often irked by the lack of a “sound bite” or simple message (e.g., “Are stepparents mean and wicked or not?” “Are stepfamilies harmful environments for children?”). Although we do not intend to abandon the judicious use of conditional statements in this chapter, we speculate about what researchers, clinicians, and stepfamilies will be doing in a decade hence.
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