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Measuring Limit-Setting Practices Used by Family Members Towards Relatives with Psychiatric Disorders


Family members often set limits with relatives with psychiatric disorders (PD), however, no scale currently exists measuring the use of such limit-setting practices. The present article describes the development and results of a new measure, the Family Limit-Setting Scale (FLSS). Via a national online survey, the FLSS was completed by 573 adults residing in the U.S. who report having an adult relative with PD. We conducted exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, examined internal consistencies and other indicators of construct validity, and performed invariance analyses assessing the generality of the optimal factor model to men, women, Caucasian respondents, and non-Caucasian respondents. Results indicate that the FLSS has an acceptable two factor structure (routine limit-setting and crisis prevention limit-setting) with both factors being highly generalizable to all groups of respondents examined. Internal consistencies and other indicators provide additional evidence of the FLSS’ construct validity. Use of the FLSS will enable the conduction of quantitative research in this area. In addition, this measure may be employed in education/support organizations for families with a member with mental illness in an effort to identify persons using high levels of limit-setting practices who may benefit from extra support and/or guidance.

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Correspondence to Travis Labrum.

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This study was funded the Ortner Center on Family Violence and a Summer Research Fellowship with the School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania.

Conflict of interest

Travis Labrum, Marlene Walk, and Phyllis Solomon have declared that they has no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Labrum, T., Walk, M. & Solomon, P.L. Measuring Limit-Setting Practices Used by Family Members Towards Relatives with Psychiatric Disorders. Psychiatr Q 87, 465–477 (2016).

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  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Family limit-setting
  • Mental illness