The role of children in marital relationships and (in)stability of cross‐border stepfamilies in Hong Kong

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Abstract

As the first study on the marital stability of transnational remarriages, this study contributes to two bodies of literature, namely, marriage migration and stepfamilies, by examining the role of stepchildren and common children in (de)stabilising marital relationships in cross‐border stepfamilies in Hong Kong. Studies have shown that intermarriages and remarriages are unstable, especially remarriages involving non‐shared children. Remarriages represent a significant proportion of transnational marriages. However, little is known about the role of immigrant stepchildren and common children at different life courses in shaping marital dynamics and stability in international remarriages. This study focuses on cross‐border marriages that involve children from a previous relationship. It adopts a life course perspective and uses in‐depth interviews with lower‐class mainland Chinese immigrant mothers with children from previous relationships and common children with their Hong Kong husbands. It found that children in these families played three roles in stabilising or jeopardising remarriage: immigrant stepchildren as catalysts, common children as buffers and husband's children as gatekeepers. This study contributes to the literature by highlighting the important role of migration in stepfamily dynamics, the diversity of transnational stepfamilies and the need to go beyond the conjugal dyad to understand marital dynamics and stability in cross‐border stepfamilies. Copyright © 2020 Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-422
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Volume61
Issue number3
Early online date27 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Citation

To, C. W.‐C. (2020). The role of children in marital relationships and (in)stability of cross‐border stepfamilies in Hong Kong. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 61(3), 406-422. doi: 10.1111/apv.12294

Keywords

  • Children
  • Hong Kong
  • International marriage
  • Life course
  • Remarriage
  • Stepfamily

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