, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 331-342
Date: 23 Jan 2009

Assessment of Relevant Parenting Factors in Families of Clinically Anxious Children: The Family Assessment Clinician-Rated Interview (FACI)

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Abstract

Objective Research on child and adolescent anxiety disorders has seen a surge in investigations of parenting factors potentially associated with their etiology. However, many of the well-established parenting measures are limited by over-reliance on self-report or lengthy behavioral observation procedures. Such measures may not assess factors most salient to anxiety etiology, since most family functioning measures were not originally developed for this purpose. The Family Assessment Clinician Interview (FACI) was developed as a clinician-administered interview of parent and family factors associated with child and adolescent anxiety. The present study is the first to investigate the psychometric properties of the FACI. Method Using a clinical sample of 65 children with various anxiety disorders, and their parents, inter-rater reliability, convergent validity and associations with child-reported and clinician-evaluated anxiety severity were examined. Results suggest that the FACI has good to excellent inter-rater reliability with kappas ranging from 0.79 to 1.0 across FACI scales and subscales. Some evidence of convergent validity with relevant portions of the Family Environment Scale was observed, although the latter findings varied by respondent (mother versus father). The Family Warmth/Closeness subscale of the FACI was consistently associated with increased child anxiety symptoms. Contrary to expectations, higher levels of parental expectations were associated with lower levels of child anxiety. Conclusion Results suggest that the FACI is a promising measure of family anxiety constructs that may be useful in both research and clinical settings.