Core Interview Questions (includes rationales)
Question 1: In what ways, if any, do you see your stepfamily to be different than a “non-step” family? Rationale: This question is designed to activate individuals’/couples’ thoughts as to sources of conflict unique to the stepfamily experience. Question 2: What have been your biggest challenges as a stepcouple? Question 3: What issues have you and your partner found to be the most challenging in creating and maintaining your stepfamily? Rationale: Pertains to thesis questions 1 and 2. Research indicates that attachment injury can present through problems the couple finds difficult to resolve. These questions may illuminate potential sources of conflict and attachment injury unique to stepcouples, first considering the couple, then the family. They bring to mind the most salient issues for them, preparing the participants to consider their relationship in more detail. Question 4: What are the three (3) problem topics that occur most frequently for you as a couple? Rationale: Pertains to thesis questions 1 and 2. The literature on attachment injury notes that couples highlight attachment injury by presenting recurring issues. This question focuses on “couple problems;” responses will be critical in exploring whether couples perceive their recurrent issues are directly related to their “step” status. Question 5: Do you have any problems that you have not been able to resolve up until now? Rationale: Pertains to thesis questions 1 and 2. According to the relevant literature, unresolvable conflict may signal attachment injury. However, further questions should explore whether there simply has not been time to resolve them, considering the length of their relationship. Question 6: What similarities and differences do you see between problems in your stepcouple relationship versus those in a non-step-relationship? Rationale: Pertains to thesis question 2. This question is designed to address issues that couples consider unique to “step” status, or that reveal possible attachment injuries related to past relationships, and are unrelated to “step” status. Question 7: If there has been what you might call a “critical event” that particularly challenged you in your relationship, please describe it. Rationale: Pertains to thesis questions 1 and 2. The literature on attachment injury notes this language as a marker for attachment injury. This also will reveal any critical events that are related specifically to stepcoupling. Question 8: If you have resolved this “critical event,” how did you do so? If you have not resolved it, how do you see resolving the barriers to resolution?