Use of the Family Resource Scale in Children’s Mental Health: Reliability and Validity among Economically Diverse Samples

  • Ana María Brannan
  • Brigitte Manteuffel
  • E. Wayne Holden
  • Craig Anne Heflinger

The adequacy of a family’s resources has implications for child and family service processes and outcomes. The field needs tools to assess resources in a manner relevant to children’s services research. The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of the FRS among families caring for children who are receiving mental health services and to compare its measurement quality across samples that differ on economic variables. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported similar factor structures across samples, and internal consistency was equivalent. Findings from the regression analyses provided evidence of construct validity for the FRS. Overall, findings indicated that the FRS holds promise as a reliable and valid tool for assessing perceived adequacy of concrete resources among economically diverse families of children with emotional and behavioral disorders. However, the FRS could benefit from some refinements; those recommendations are discussed.


  1. Armbruster P., and Fallon T. (1994). Clinical, sociodemographic, and systems risk factors for attrition in a children’s mental health clinic. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 64, 577–585PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beer R. (1992). A preschool child psychiatric service: predictors of post-assessment default. Child: Care, Health, and Development 18, 1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bickman L., Guthrie P.R., Foster E.M., Lambert E.W., Summerfelt W.T., Breda C.S., Heflinger C.A. (1995). Evaluating managed mental health services: The Fort Bragg experiment. Plenum Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Bickman L., Foster E.M., Lambert E.W. (1996). Who gets hospitalized in a continuum of care. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 35, 74–80PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bollen K.A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Brannan A.M., Heflinger C.A. (2001). Distinguishing caregiver strain from psychological distress: Modeling the relationship between child, family, and caregiver variables. Journal of Child and Family Studies 10, 405–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brannan, A. M., & Heflinger, C. A. (2005). Predictors of child mental health service utilization patterns: Comparison of managed care and fee-for-service Medicaid systems. Mental Health Services Research 7, 197–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brannan A.M., Heflinger C.A., Bickman L. (1997). The Caregiver Strain Questionnaire: Measuring the impact on the family of living with a child with serious emotional disturbance. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 5, 212–222Google Scholar
  9. Brannan A.M., Heflinger C.A., Foster E.M. (2003). The role of caregiver strain and other family variables in children’s use of mental health services. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 11: 7791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bronfenbrenner U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  11. Bui K.T., Takeuchi D.T. (1992). Ethnic minority adolescents and the use of community mental health care services. American Journal of Community Psychology 20, 403–417PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burns B.J., Costello E.J., Angold A., Tweed D., Stangl D., Farmer E.M.Z., Erkanli A. (1995). Children’s mental health service use across service sectors. Health Affairs 14, 147–159PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Byles J.,Byrne C., Boyle M.H. Offord D.R. (1988). Ontario child health study: reliability and validity of the general functioning subscale of the McMaster Family Assessment Device. Family Process 27, 97–104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Conger R.D., Conger K.J., Elder G.H. Jr., Lorenz F.O., Simons R.L., Whitbeck L.B. (1992). A family process model of economic hardship and adjustment of early adolescent boys. Child Development 63, 526–541PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cook J.A., Fitzgibbon G., Burke-Miller J., Mulkern V., Grey D.D., Heflinger C.A., Paulson R., Hoven C.W., Stein-Seroussi A., Kelleher K. (2004). Medicaid behavioral health care plan satisfaction and children’s service utilization. Health Care Financing Review 26, 43–55PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Costello E.J., Compton S.N., Keeler G., Angold A. (2003). Relationships between poverty and psychopathology: A natural experiment. Journal of the American Medical Association 290, 2023–2029PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dover S.J., Leahy A., Foreman D. (1994). Parental psychiatric disorder: Clinical prevalence and effects on default from treatment. Child: Care, Health, and Development 20, 137–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunst C.J., Leet H.E. (1987). Measuring the adequacy of resources in households with young children. Child: Care, Health and Development 13, 111–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dunst C.J., Leet H.E., Trivette C.M. (1988). Family resources, personal well-being, and early intervention. Journal of Special Education 22, 108–116Google Scholar
  20. Early T.J. (2001). Measures for practice with families from a strengths perspective. Families in Society 82, 225–232Google Scholar
  21. Epstein N.B., Baldwin L.M. Bishop D.S. (1983). The McMaster Family Assessment Device. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 9, 171 - 180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Feldt L.S. (1969). A test of the hypothesis that Cronbach’s alpha or Kuber–Richardson coefficient twenty is the same for two tests. Psychometrika, 34, 363–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Foster E.M. (1999). Do aftercare services reduce inpatient psychiatric readmissions?. Health Services Research 34, 715–736PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Foster E.M. (1998). Does the continuum of care influence time in treatment?. Evaluation Review 22, 447–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ghiselli E.E., Campbell J.P., Zedeck S. (1981). Measurement theory for the behavioral sciences. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  26. Gilbert M., Fine S., Haley G. (1994). Factors associated with drop-out from group psychotherapy with depressed adolescents. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 39, 358–359Google Scholar
  27. Gould M.S., Shaffer D., and Kaplan D. (1985). The characteristics of dropouts from a child psychiatry clinic. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 24, 316–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Heflinger C.A., Northrup D.A., Sonnichsen S.E., Brannan A.M. (1998). Including a family focus in research on community based services for children with serious emotional disturbance: Experience from the Fort Bragg Evaluation Project. In Epstein M.H., Kutash K., Duchnowski A. (eds), Outcomes for children with and youth with behavioral and emotional disorders: Programs and evaluation best practices. ProEd, Austin TXGoogle Scholar
  29. Holden E.W., Santiago R.L., Manteuffel B.A., Stephens R., Brannan A.M., Soler R., Brashears F., Zaro S. (2003). Systems of care demonstration projects: innovation, evaluation and sustainability. In Pumariega A., Winters N. (eds), Handbook of Community Systems of Care: The New Child and Adolescent Community Psychiatry. Jossey Bass, San Francisco CA, pp. 432–458Google Scholar
  30. Kaminer Y., Tarter R.E., Bukstein O.G., Kabene M. (1992). Comparison between treatment completers and non-completers among dually diagnosed substance-abusing adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 31, 1046–1049PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kang, E. J., Brannan, A. M., & Heflinger, C. A. (in press). Racial differences in reports of caregiver strain among caregivers of children with emotional and behavioral problems. Journal of Child and Family Studies 14, 43–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kelley S.J., Whitley D., Sipe T.A., Yorker B.C. (2000). Psychological distress in grandmother kinship care providers: The role of resources, social support, and physical health. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, 311–321PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Koroloff N., Friesen B. (1997). Challenges in conducting family centered mental health services research. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 5, 130–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kotchick B.A., Forehand R. (2002). Putting parenting in perspective: A discussion of the contextual factors that shape parenting practices. Journal of Child and Family Studies 11, 255–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Luthar S.S. (1994). Poverty and children’s adjustment. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  36. McCubbin H.I., Patterson J.M. (1983). The family stress process: The Double ABCX Model of adjustment and adaptation. Marriage and Family Review 6: 737Google Scholar
  37. McGrew K.S., Gilman C.J., Johnson S. (1992). A review of scales to assess family needs. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 10, 4–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mordrcin M.J., Robison J. (1991). Parent of children with emotional disorders: Issues for consideration and practice. Community Mental Health Journal 27, 281–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Muthén L., Muthén B. (2001). Mplus user’s guide, Version 212. Muthén Muthén, Los Angeles, CAGoogle Scholar
  40. Pinderhughes E.E., Nix R., Foster E.M., Jones D., The Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (2001). Parenting in context: Impact of neighborhood poverty, residential stability, public services, social networks, and danger on parental behaviors. Journal of Marriage and Family 63, 941–953CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. *SAS Institute, Inc. (1999–2000). Version 801. SAS Institute Inc, Cary NCGoogle Scholar
  42. Tabachnick B.G., Fidell L.S. (1989). Using multivariate statistics (Second Edition). Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. Van Horn M.L., Bellis J.M., Snyder S.W. (2001). Family Resources Scale: Psychometrics and validation of a measure of family resources in a sample of low-income families. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 19, 54–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wu P., Hoven C.W., Bird H., Moore R.E., Cohen P., Alegria M. et al. (1999). Depressive and disruptive disorders and mental health service utilization in children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 38, 1081–1090PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana María Brannan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Brigitte Manteuffel
    • 2
  • E. Wayne Holden
    • 3
  • Craig Anne Heflinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.ORC MacroAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.RTI InternationalResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  4. 4.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations