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Contents (Jump to)
- Literature Review
- Psychological Test
- Beaver’s Self-Report Family Inventory
- Administration of SRFI
- Scoring and Interpretation of SRFI
- Validity and Reliability
This write up is to analyze the effectiveness of an instrument used as a psychological test to gather information. The chosen instrument is Beaver’s Self-Report Family Inventory – Version II (SRFI). Parents and family environment or more appropriately family relationship plays a very important role in the well-being of children. (Lambert,M., 2010) In Malaysian context, discipline problem is an increasing phenomenon in primary schools as well as secondary schools. The root cause or the first and foremost reason behind those discipline problems is the family environment and relationship. SRFI is considered to be an instrument that can help the counselors and other helping professionals to identify the family functioning so that further plans can be done in order to help the children.
Previous literature on family assessment instruments for use in child welfare includes descriptions of instruments (Pinsof, 2009) and guides for developing comprehensive assessment strategies as part of community-based child welfare services reform (Pinsof, 2010). This structured literature review builds on these efforts by identifying the most valid and reliable instruments that address the following four federally-defined domains of family assessment: (1) patterns of social interaction, including the nature of contact and involvement with others, and the presence or absence of social support networks and relationships; (2) parenting practices, including methods of discipline, patterns of supervision, understanding of child development and/or of the emotional needs of children; (3) background and history of the parents or caregivers, including the history of abuse and neglect; and (4) problems in access to basic necessities such as income, employment, adequate housing, child care, transportation, and other needed services and supports (US, HHS, 2006). Several additional behaviors and conditions have been associated with child maltreatment, such as domestic violence, mental illness, poor physical health, disabilities, and alcohol and drug use. Ideally, a comprehensive family assessment instrument will address these conditions and indicate whether a need for more specialized assessment exists. An objective of this review was to identify measures that addressed these behaviors and conditions as part of a comprehensive family assessment strategy. However, the review of specialized instruments for these conditions and various disabilities was outside the scope of this review. A structured review on the assessment of children and youth in the child welfare system is the focus of a separate review. These major theoretical and disciplinary influences have given rise to several practical issues when considering the appropriateness of a family assessment measure and method. While there are many approaches, family assessment methods typically fall into three categories: client self-report, observation, and interviews. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages. A key distinction is the degree to which the method is formalized. Formal methods, such as self-report questionnaires, tend to have procedures that are clearly outlined to facilitate consistently repeated administrations. By contrast, informal methods such as interviews may be less clear in their specification and more variable in terms of administration. Family assessment measures also vary in terms of the perspective obtained. Typically, child welfare practitioners will consider the perspectives of multiple individuals during the family assessment process, including “insider” reports from family members and children as well as “outsider” reports from school personnel, extended family members, and others that may be involved with the case. Integration of the assessment of multiple reporters with insider and outsider perspectives is reflected in the “multisystem-multi method” (MS-MM) approach (Greenberger, 2000) Self-report questionnaires provide a unique insider view of family life as well as reliable methods, simplified administration and scoring, and a measurable link between an individual’s perceptions or attitudes and behaviors. Given these advantages, they are by far the most commonly used method in research as well as in practice. Observation rating scales provide another cost-effective method of generating outsider information regarding family interaction patterns that can also be evaluated for reliability and validity. However, rating scales can also be limited in their usefulness by the competence of the rater and the psychometric quality of the scale. Raters must have a clear understanding of the concepts that are measured and the behaviors that represent the concepts in practice. They must also possess adequate knowledge of different populations in order to place observed behavior on a continuum, a concern that adequate training and clinical supervision can begin to address. However, as with self-report measures, evidence of the validity and reliability of an observational rating scale is critical in the instrument selection process, particularly with regard to specific stages of assessment.
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Psychological tests are administered by many different professionals to many different individuals, and the results of these tests are used in ways that significantly affect us and those around us. Psychological test is something that requires us to perform behaviour to measure some personal attribute, trait, or characteristic or to predict an outcome. Psychological tests can differ in terms of how they are administered and their format. A test can be administered in paper-and-pencil format (individually or in a group setting), on a computer, or verbally. Similarly, a psychological test may consist of multiple-choice items; agree/disagree items, true/false items, open-ended questions, or some mix of these. There are also tests that ask respondents to perform some behaviour such as sorting cards, playing a role, or writing an essay. Psychological tests can differ in terms of how they are scored and interpreted. Some tests are completed on scan able sheets and are computer scored. Some are hand-scored by the person administering the test. Others are scored by the test takers themselves. In terms of interpretation, some tests generate results that can be interpreted easily by the test taker, and others require a knowledgeable professional to explain the results to the test taker. Psychological tests have various similarities and many differences. All psychological tests require an individual to perform one or more behaviours, and these behaviours are used to measure some personal attribute, trait, or characteristic thought to be important in describing or understanding behaviour or to predict an outcome. However, psychological tests can and do differ in terms of the behaviours they require individuals to perform, the attributes they measure, their content, how they are administered and formatted, how they are scored and interpreted, and their psychometric quality. All good tests have three defining characteristics in common. First, they include a representative sample of behaviours. Second, they collect the sample under standardized conditions. Third, they have rules for scoring. When using psychological tests, we must make some assumptions. We must assume that a test measures what it says it measures, that any inferences that are drawn about test takers from their scores on the test are appropriate, that an individual’s behaviour (and therefore test scores) will remain stable over time, that individuals understand test items similarly, that individuals can and will report accurately about their thoughts and feelings, and that the test score an individual receives is equal to his or her true behaviour/ability in the real world plus some error. Testing professionals refer to psychological tests in various ways. Sometimes they refer to them as tests of maximal performance, behaviour observations, or self-report. Sometimes they refer to them as standardized or non-standardized. Other times they refer to them as objective or projective. Professionals also refer to tests based on the dimensions they measure. It is important to remember the distinctions among four commonly misunderstood terms: psychological assessment, psychological test, measurement, and survey. First, although both psychological assessments and psychological tests are used to gather information, a psychological test is only one of many tools in the psychological assessment process. Second, a psychological test can be considered to be a measurement when the sampled behaviour can be expressed in a derived score. Third, psychological tests are different from surveys in that psychological tests focus on individual differences and often report one overall derived score (or scaled scores), and surveys focus on group similarities and typically report results at the question or item level.
The Self-Report Family Inventory: Version II (SRFI) is a 36-item measure of perceptions of family functioning in five domains: Health/Competence, Conflict, Cohesion, Leadership, and Expressiveness. The instrument is a screening device to assess a family member’s view of overall family competence, based on the Beavers Systems Model of family functioning. Each item is rated on a 5-point scale; for the first 34 items, the scale descriptors are 1 = YES: Fits our family very well, 3 = SOME: Fits our family some, and 5 = NO: Does not fit our family. The last two items have response scales specific to the items. Lower scores represent greater family competence.
It is a paper pencil method of administration for children aged 12 and above and also for the adults in the family. Interview also can be done for those who are illiterate or have reading and writing problem. Time given is within 5 to 10 minutes.
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Summary scores for each of the five subscales can be obtained as follows: (An “R” refers to an item score that must be reversed prior to summing). To reverse score, change all numbers where indicated to their opposite. For example, five becomes a one, four becomes a two, three stays the same, two becomes a four, and one becomes a five.
- Health/Competence: Items 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18R, 19R, 20, 21, 24R, 25R, 27R,
- 28, 33, 35, and 36
- Conflict: Items 5R, 6, 7, 8R, 10R, 14R, 18R, 24R, 25R, 30R, 31R, and 34
- Cohesion: Items 2, 15, 19R, 27R, and 36
- Expressiveness: Items 1, 9, 13R, 20, and 22
- Leadership: Items 8R, 16, and 32
For each numbered item, fill in the score from the SFI. For items
SUM : ________
SUM : ________
7 ______ <8> ______ <10> _____ <14> _____
Lower scores represent greater competence and higher scores indicate greater problems within the system.
Validity was measured by correlating the SRFI with the observational scales of the Beavers System Model. The results indicate a high degree of convergence of family constructs across the two methods at .62 or above (Beavers & Hampson, 2000). The authors claim that this indicates that the SRFI is roughly equivalent to observations (Drumm, M. Carr, 2000). The authors of the instrument report high internal consistencies reliability with Cronbach alphas between .84 and .93 and test-retest reliabilities of .85 or better (Beavers & Hampson, 2000).
The great advantage of SRFI is that it gives the respondents’ own views directly. It gives access to phenomenological data, i.e., respondents’ perceptions of themselves and their world, which are unobtainable in any other way. Furthermore, self-report methods can be used to obtain information in situations where observational data are not normally available.
- Able to study large samples of people fairly easy.
- Able to examine a large number of variables.
- Can be carried out relatively cheaply.
The main disadvantage of self-report is that there is a number of potential validity problems associated with it. The data are personal and idiosyncratic and thus may bear little relationship to ‘‘reality,’’ as seen by you or others. More importantly, people are not always truthful. Furthermore, research participants may not be able to provide the level of detail, or use the concepts, that the researcher is interested in.
- People may not respond truthfully, either because they cannot remember or because they wish to present themselves in a socially acceptable manner.
- We cannot establish cause and effect relationships from survey data as other variables which could have had an effect may not have been considered in the questionnaire or interview.
- It may be difficult to obtain a random sample of the population because some people who are selected refuse to answer questions or it may be difficult to obtain a full list of the population from which to select a random sample.
SRFI is best use for a quick access of information and it is easy to administer. To have a comprehensive assessment of family the same SRFI can be used as a tool for interview for a qualitative research. More information can be gathered if it is used while observing the family with their consent. Teachers, counsellors and discipline masters in school can use SRFI to plan future programs in order to help the children with complicated family background. It will be a very helpful tool in school environment.
- Beavers, R., & Hampson, R. B. (2000). The Beavers System Model of Family Functioning. Journal of Family Therapy, 22(2), 128-143.
- Drumm, M., Carr, A., & Fitzgerald, M. (2000). The Beavers, McMaster and Circumplex clinical rating scales: A study of their sensitivity, specificity and discriminant validity. Journal of Family Therapy, 22(2), 225-258.
- Greenberger, E., Chen, C., Beam, M., Whang, S. M., & Dong, Q. (2000). The perceived social contexts of adolescent misconduct: A comparative study of youths in three cultures. Journal of Adolescent Research, 10(3), 365–388.
- Johnson, L., Ketring, S., & Anderson, S. (2010). The Intersession Report: Development of a short questionnaire for couple’s therapy. American Journal of Family Therapy, 38, 266–276.
- Kim, S. Y., & Ge, X. (2000). Parenting practices and adolescent depressive symptoms in Chinese American families. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 420–435.
- Lambert, M. (2010). Prevention of treatment failure: The use of measuring, monitoring, and feedback in clinical practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Miller, S., Duncan, B., Brown, J., Sorrell, R., & Chalk, M. (2006). Using outcome to inform and improved treatment outcomes: Making ongoing, real-time assessment feasible. Journal of Brief Therapy, 5, 5–23.
- Pinsof, W., & Chambers, A. (2010). Empirically informed systemic psychotherapy: Tracking client change and therapist behavior during therapy. In J. Bray & M. Stanton (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of family psychology (pp. 431–446). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
- Pinsof, W., Zinbarg, R., Lebow, J., Knobloch-Fedders, L., Durbin, E., Chambers, A., et al. (2009). Laying the foundation for progress research in family, couple, and individual therapy: The development and psychometric features of the initial systemic therapy inventory of change. Psychotherapy Research, 19, 143–156.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2006). Comprehensive Family Assessment Guidelines for Child Welfare. Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families Children’s Bureau.
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