Family Environment Scale

Purpose: Designed to "measure the social-environmental characteristics of all types of families."

Population: Family members.

Score: Ten scores are derived from the subscales to create an overall profile of family environment.

Time: (15-20) minutes.

Authors: Rudolf H. Moos and Bernice S. Moos.

Publisher: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.

Description: The Family Environment Scale (FES) was developed to measure social and environmental characteristics of families. The scale is based on a three-dimensional conceptualization of families. Additionally, three separate forms of the FES are available that correspondingly measure different aspects of these dimensions. The Real Form (Form R) measures people’s perceptions of their actual family environments, the Ideal Form (Form I) rewords items to assess individuals’ perceptions of their ideal family environment, and the Expectations Form (Form E) instructs respondents to indicate what they expect a family environment will be like under, for example, anticipated family changes.

Scoring: The Relationship dimension includes measurements of Cohesion, Expressiveness, and Conflict. The Personal Growth dimension involves assessments of Independence, Achievement Orientation, Intellectual-Cultural Orientation, Active-Recreational Orientation, and Moral-Religious Emphasis. The System Maintenance dimension includes Organization and Control measures. Scores for each of these 10 subscales are derived to create an overall profile of family environment. Based on these scores, families are then grouped into one of three family environment typologies based on their most salient characteristics.

Reliability: Internal consistency reliability estimates for the Form R subscales range from .61 to .78. Intercorrelations among these 10 subscales range from -.53 to .45. These data suggest that the scales are measuring relatively distinct characteristics of family environment and with reasonable consistency. Test-retest reliabilities for the Form R subscales for 2-month, 3-month, and 12-month intervals range from .52 to .91. These estimates suggest that the scale is reasonably stable across these time intervals.

Validity: The face and content validity of the instrument are supported by clear statements about family situations that relate to subscale domains. Evidence of construct validity is presented in the manual through comparative descriptions of distressed and normal family samples; comparisons of parent responses with those of their adolescent children; descriptions of responses by families with two to six or more members; and descriptions of families with a single parent, of minority families, and of older families. Additional validity evidence is provided in the manual through summaries or references to approximately 150 additional research studies.

Norms: Information regarding normative data is not included in the manual.

Suggested Uses: The FES recommended as a viable instrument in the study of family systems.