Ganong, Lawrence H.

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GANONG, Lawrence H.


Male. Education: Kansas State University, M.A. 1974; University of Missouri, M.A., 1977, Ph.D., 1986.


Office—University of Missouri School of Nursing, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. E-mail—[email protected].


University of Missouri, Columbia, professor, MU Sinclair School of Nursing and Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 1979—. Member of the board of directors, National Council on Family Relations


(With Marilyn Coleman) Bibliotherapy with Stepchildren, C. C. Thomas (Springfield, IL), 1988.

(With Marilyn Coleman) Remarried Family Relationships, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1994.

(With Marilyn Coleman) Changing Families, Changing Responsibilities: Family Obligations following Divorce and Remarriage, Lawrence Erlbaum (Mahwa, NJ), 1999.

(With Marilyn Coleman) Points and Counterpoints: Controversial Relationship and Family Issues in the Twenty-first Century: An Anthology, Roxbury Publishing (Los Angeles, CA), 2003.

(Editor, with Marilyn Coleman) Stepfamily Relationships: Development, Dynamics, and Interventions, Kluwer Academic (New York, NY), 2004.

(Editor, with Marilyn Coleman) Handbook of Contemporary Families: Contemplating the Past, Considering the Future, Sage Publishing (Thousand Oaks, CA), 2004.


Lawrence H. Ganong is a respected authority whose research, teachings, and writings focus on postdivorce family dynamics and relationships, intergenerational family obligations, and social conditions pertaining to family life. Ganong began his career with the School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1979 and was codirector of the school's doctoral program for four years. His specific nursing specialties are family interventions and research methods, and he conducts workshops for both professionals working with stepfamilies and stepfamily members themselves. He is the author or editor of numerous books with Marilyn Coleman.

By the time Ganong teamed with Coleman to write Bibliotherapy with Stepchildren in 1988, the typical American family of the 1950s had become a small minority. The authors believed that most professionals such as teachers and family counselors—and stepfamily members themselves—were largely unprepared and unaware of the challenging issues faced by members of stepfamilies. Following years of intense research, they compiled Bibliotherapy with Stepchildren, a resource for professionals and stepfamily members alike. It contains names of self-help and fiction books for children, adolescents, and adults in which readers can identify their roles in their own stepfamily, develop a more positive purview of that role, and find ways to deal with troubling issues. It includes a classification guide and a summary section that indicates whether a publication includes a stepmother and/or stepfather, the age and gender of stepchildren, how the stepfamily came to be (e.g., divorce, death), and other pertinent factors. The authors give each publication a literary quality and recommendation rating. Recommended books receive a brief synopsis.

The dramatic changes in family structure and relationship dynamics brought new and difficult challenges for family members as well as professionals who work with families. Ganong and Coleman's Remarried Family Relationships is a thorough summary of empirical research on such changes and provides clinicians, students, and researchers with an excellent guide to further studies on the topic. Carolyn S. Henry wrote in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, "Due to its comprehensive scope, this book stands out as the single most valuable current publication on remarried families."

The authors summarize findings from the more than 300 references listed in the bibliography. The broad range of subject matter includes the different reasons for remarriage, relationship dynamics prior to remarriage and its effects on the ensuing marriage, and lack of preparation for such dynamics (the remarriage divorce rate is higher than for first-time marriages). The authors also address relationships between step-parent and stepchild, child abuse by stepparents, the stepchild's influence on the stepparent's role, and the fact that stepparents are still generally negatively stereotyped. Neither do the authors overlook the important relationship dynamics of siblings, former spouses, and biological parents and grandparents in the context of remarriage.

The duo's 1999 book, Changing Families, Changing Responsibilities: Family Obligations following Divorce and Remarriage, is described by Joyce A. Arditti in the Journal of Marriage and the Family as "an extensive, empirical exploration designed to investigate normative beliefs about intergenerational obligations. The book is well written, methodologically dependable, and contributes to the literature on caregiving, parenting, and financial responsibility as a function of family structure and transition." Here again, Ganong and Coleman analyze and interpret studies published by other professionals and integrate previously unpublished information and perspectives to address issues that affect first-time and remarried family members in terms of obligation and responsibility, and incorporate vignettes from real-life experiences related by more than 6,500 Missouri adults in a family obligation study. A reviewer wrote in Adolescence, the authors also address "adults' obligations to parents, in-laws, and stepparents." Arditti called the book "a solid empirical and theoretical resource … for family scholars and students."



Adolescence, fall, 1999, review of Changing Families, Changing Responsibilities: Family Obligations following Divorce and Remarriage, p. 641.

Family Relations, January, 1989, review of Biblio-therapy with Stepchildren, p. 114; January, 1995, Patricia L. Papernow, review of Remarried Family Relationships, p. 119.

Journal of Marriage and the Family, February, 1996, review of Remarried Family Relationships, pp. 252-254; February, 2001, Joyce A. Arditti, review of Changing Families, Changing Responsibilities, pp. 276-278.*

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