Family Environment Scale

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Category Communication, Family, Social, Surveys/Scales

One of the best developed environmental measures is the Family Environment Scale (FES), a 90-item inventory with 10 subscales that assess interpersonal relationships, personal development goals, and organizational structure.. 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.

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.

Rudolf H. Moos and Bernice S. Moos.

Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.

Moos, R., Finney, J., & Cronkite, R. (1990). Alcoholism Treatment: Context, Process, and Outcome. New York: Oxford.
This book describes the use of the Community-Oriented Programs Environment Scale, the Family Environment Scale, and the Work Environment Scale, in long-term studies of treatment outcome among alcoholic patients.

Timko, C. & Moos, R. (1996). The mutual influence of family support and youth adaptation. In G. Pierce, B. Sarason, & I. Sarason (Eds.) Handbook of social support and the family (pp. 289-310). New York: Plenum.
Moos, R. & Moos, B. (1994). Family Environment Scale Manual: Development, Applications, Research – Third Edition. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press.

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.