Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 125–138 | Cite as

Family system test (FAST): Are parents' and children's family constructs either different or similar, or both?

  • Thomas M. Gehring
  • Daniel Marti
  • Andrea Sidler


Perceptions of family cohesion and hierarchy structures were assessed by theFamily System Test (FAST), a clinically-derived figure placement technique. Parents (N=140) and their preadolescent offspring (N=70) completed typical and conflict representations in individual as well as group settings. Typical representations were characterized by balanced family structures (i.e. cohesive and moderately hierarchical) and those displaying conflict situations showed predominantly unbalanced patterns. FAST portrayals were related to respondent (mother vs. father vs. child). Fathers represented typical family relations as balanced more often than mothers. Regarding conflict representations, children were more likely than fathers to portray the family as unbalanced. However, analyses of representations of the same family (i.e. intra-family comparisons) indicated that all respondents differed in their perceptions and, that fathers' typical portrayals showed most often the same structure as those done by the family members as a group.

Key words

FAST Typical and Conflict Representations Individual and Group Settings Cross- and Intra-Family Comparisons 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Gehring
    • 1
  • Daniel Marti
    • 1
  • Andrea Sidler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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