Advisory Board

The Stepfamily Magazine advisory board is a group of exceptional researchers, practitioners, and experts from around the world who share their expertise and networks, contribute ideas and articles, and help sustain Stepfamily Magazine’s reputation as the leading blended family publication.

Erin Careless headshot

Erin Careless, Ph.D. (Chair)

Director of Professional Certificates, Career Essentials and Accreditations, Dalhousie University; Founder of Steplife

Erin Careless earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies with research focused on stepmothering through the lens of motherwork. She is a Certified Stepfamily coach and speaker with a strong passion for empowering stepmoms to find the role in their family that works for them.

Dr. Careless became a stepmom when she met her partner Matt in 2014. That same year, she founded Steplife as a way to share her experiences and provide support to other women navigating stepfamily life. Erin and Matt married in 2015 and, in addition to her stepson Oliver and Stepdaughter Waverleigh, they are parents to Grace and Finn.

You can find Dr. Careless at Steplife HERE.

Katie Acosta, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology

Katie L. Acosta is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. She is the author of two books: Amigas y Amantes: Sexually Nonconforming Latinas Negotiate Family and most recently Queer Stepfamilies: The Path to Social and Legal Recognition. Queer Stepfamilies highlights the strength and resilience of lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender-parented families.

In addition, her work appears in the Journal of Family Theory & Review, Family Relations, Sexualities, Journal of Homosexuality, Sexualities Research and Social Policy, and Gender & Society. Dr. Acosta regularly teaches Race and Ethnic Relations, Families & Society, Qualitative Research Methods, Sexualities, and Gender & Society.

When not being an academic, this mamá can be found spending time with her kids and rescue pup, thriving through whatever life sends her way.

Francesca Adler-Baeder, Ph.D.

Auburn University Alumni Professor in Human Development and Family Studies
Executive Director, National Stepfamily Resource Center

Francesca Adler-Baeder, Ph.D. has been involved for over 2 decades in bridging research and practice through applied research projects and resource and program development. Her research interests focus on relational health among youth, couples, stepfamilies, and families under stress.

She has authored more than 80 academic publications and presented more than 400 professional workshops and research presentations.

Dr. Adler-Baeder has been awarded the 2007 Strengthening Alabama Families Award, the 2009 AU Distinguished Diversity Researcher Award, the 2013 AU Excellence in Faculty Outreach Award, and in 2015 was named a Fellow by the National Council on Family Relations for her exceptional record of grant procurement; her development, delivery and evaluation of programs to enhance family relationships, especially her efforts targeting young parents, people of color and low resource families; and her mentoring of future leaders in the field of family science.

Dr. Adler-Baeder lives with her husband Patrick, and their 4 children in Auburn, Alabama.

Dawn O. Braithwaite, Ph.D.

Willa Cather Professor of Communication Studies Emeritus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dawn O. Braithwaite, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota) studies how people in personal and family relationships communicate and negotiate family change and challenges. Her research centers on communication in understudied and changing families, communication rituals, and dialectics of relating especially in stepfamilies and among voluntary (fictive) kin.

Dr. Braithwaite has authored over 140 publications and is co-author or co-editor of six books, including Family Communication: Cohesion and Change, Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication, Engaging Theories in Family Communication, and By Degrees: Resilience, Relationships and Success in Communication Graduate Studies. She is the author of the blog “Communication Matters” for Psychology Today.

Scott Browning, Ph.D., ABPP.

Professor of Psychology, Chestnut Hill College

Scott Browning, Ph.D. is a professor at the doctoral program at Chestnut Hill College. He has published six books, four of which (as co-author and co-editor) examined stepfamily issues.

Dr. Browning is a member of the National Stepfamily Resource Center and won the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Science of Psychology in 2017 for his work on stepfamilies. Scott's primary text on stepfamilies is his book from the American Psychological Association: Browning, S. & Artelt, E. (2012) Stepfamily Therapy: A Ten-Step Clinical Approach.

Marilyn Coleman, EdD.

Curator’s Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of Missouri

Marilyn Coleman, EdD, is a curators’ distinguished professor emerita of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Missouri. She is also an affiliate faculty member with women’s and gender studies at the University of Missouri and a fellow in the MU Center for Excellence on Aging and the MU Center for Family Policy and Research.

She is a fellow in the National Council on Family Relations and has conducted research on stepfamilies for more than 35 years. Her recent work has focused on intergenerational family responsibilities following divorce and remarriage and the development, maintenance, and dissolution of steprelationships over time. She has co-authored over 220 articles and book chapters as well as nine books and was the second female editor of the leading family journal in the world, Journal of Marriage and Family, from 1992 to 1996. She has also served as either an associate editor or on the Editorial Board of six additional journals.

Lawrence Ganong, Ph.D.

Chancellor’s Professor and Emeritus Professor, Human Development and Family Science and Nursing, University of Missouri

Lawrence Ganong, Ph.D. has co-authored over 325 journal articles and chapters and 10 books and has received 12 research grants from public and private institutions.

Ganong’s research program has focused on how post-divorce families develop and maintain satisfying and effective relationships. Ganong is a Fellow in the National Council on Family Relations and the Gerontological Society of America. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Family Relations, the Council on Contemporary Families, and The Stepfamily Association of America.

Megan Hunter

Co-Founder & CEO, The High Conflict Institute

Megan Hunter, MBA, is co-founder of the High Conflict Institute and Conflict Playbook, along with author and speaker, Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. who developed the high-conflict personality theory. Megan developed the Institute after 13 years in policy, legislation, and judicial training with the Arizona Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Dawes County Attorney’s Office in Nebraska. She is also the founder of Unhooked Books Publishing. Megan holds an MBA and a B.S. in Business and Economics. She has served as President of the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, the Arizona Family Support Council, and the Nebraska Child Support Enforcement Association. She served 5 years on the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners.

She is the author and/or co-author of several books, including: Dating Radar, Hiring Radar, BIFF at Work, and The High Conflict Co-Parenting Survival Guide. She's also a mom of 3, mother-in-law of 2, and stepmom of 5.

Patricia Papernow, Ed.D.


Patricia Papernow, Ed.D. has taught about “blended families” all over the U.S. and the world. In addition to her lively engaging presence, Patricia brings forty years of clinical experience helping stepfamilies, and a solid grounding in the current research about what works (and what doesn’t) to build a thriving, healthy “blended family.”

Patricia is the author of Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t, and, with Karen Bonnell, The Stepfamily Handbook: From Dating, to Getting Serious to Forming a “Blended Family.” She is a member of the Experts Council of the National Stepfamily Resource Center and the recipient of the 2017 award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Psychology from the American Psychological Association.

Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, MSW, Ph.D., CFLE

Professor and Associate Department Chair for Social Justice Initiatives, Montclair State University

Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, MSW, Ph.D., CFLE has authored multiple works in journals such as Journal of Family Psychology, Family Relations, Journal of Family Issues, and Sex Roles as well as several books, most of which focus on evidence-based practice with diverse families.

Brad also guest-edited special issues on “Intersectional variations in the experiences of queer families” and “Transformative family scholarship: Theory, practice, and research at the intersection of families, race, and social justice”. His work primarily focuses on strengthening queer families and stepfamilies in ways that promote individual and family health and wellbeing.