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Family Functioning Assessment in a Community Sample of African American Caregivers and Children


Racial/ethnic minority youth receive approximately half of the mental health services of their non-minority peers. Improved methods for identifying African American families in need of behavioral health services are necessary. The Family Assessment Device and General Functioning subscale have been found to be reliable and able to detect family functioning impairment in a generalized sample, but less is known about the reliability and validity of the assessment with an African American community sample. Data from 53 African American caregiver-child (ages 7–13) dyads was collected including family demographics and the Family Assessment Device General Functioning (FAD_GF) scale. Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to determine the minimal number of FAD_GF items (12 vs. 6 items) that were valid and reliable. The 12-item FAD_GF and the 6-item scale had acceptable psychometric properties, and the 6-item measure demonstrated improved model fit over the 12-item scale and identified more clinically impaired families (6-item: 28% vs. 12-item: 23%). The 6-item measure of family functioning was more sensitive 12-item FAD_GF. This brief measure may prove useful for identifying and assessing African American families.

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This research was funded by the Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University: PI K. Pratt (2013–215), Family, Food, and Functioning (F-3): A pilot study to determine the influences of family functioning, parenting, and behaviors on child health outcomes.

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Correspondence to Catherine Van Fossen.

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Van Fossen, C., Pratt, K.J. & Eneli, I. Family Functioning Assessment in a Community Sample of African American Caregivers and Children. Contemp Fam Ther 44, 244–249 (2022).

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  • Family functioning
  • African American families
  • Mental health
  • Minority youth