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FACES IV - Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale

Based on the Circumplex model. Revised version includes six subscales: two assess the mid-ranges of adaptability and cohesion, and four assess the extremes (rigid, chaotic, disengaged, and enmeshed).




Olson, D.H., Gorall, D., & Tiesel, J.

Olson DH, Gorall DM, Tiesel JW. FACES-IV package: Administration. Minneapolis, MN: Life Innovations, Inc; 2006.

Contact Information:

Cost - $95 FACES IV package with unlimited use; $75 for students

Cost Involved
Domain Assessed: 
Services and Systems
Subcategories of Domains Assessed: 
Family cohesion and flexibility. Used to help identify problem v. non-problem family systems.
Age Range: 
12 and up
Measure Type: 
General Assessment
Measure Format: 


Reporter Type: 
N/A - a longitudinal study would show whether the measure can capture changes over time (Marsac & Alderfer, 2010)
Response Format: 

5-point scale:

1= Does not describe our family at all

2=Slightly describes our family

3= Somewhat describes our family

4= Generally describes our famly

5= Describes our family very well

Materials Needed: 
Testing Stimuli
Sample Items: 
DomainsScalesSample Items
Balanced CohesionBalancedFamily members are supporting each other during difficult times
Balanced FlexibilityBalancedMy family is able to adjust to change when necessary
Unbalanced CohesionDisengagedFamily members seem to avoid contact with each other when at home
Unbalanced CohesionEnmeshedWe spend too much time together
Unbalanced FlexibilityRigidThere are strict consequences for breaking rules in our family
Unbalanced FlexibilityChaoticOur family feels hectic and disorganized
Family CommunicationN/AFamily members are able to ask each other for what they want
Family SatisfactionN/AYour family's ability to cope with stress
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Clinician Friendly Output
Other Information Provided: 

(1) Percentile scores - for research and clinical work; can be plotted on summary profile (2) Ratio scores - balanced v. unbalanced; cohesion ratio, flexibility ratio, total cirumplex ratio (generally used for research) (3) Dimension scores - plotting cohesion and flexibility and circumplex model - should not be used for research


Training to Administer: 
Training to Interpret: 
Other Training to Administer and Interpret: 

Familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines & interpretation

Parallel or Alternate Forms

Parallel Forms: 
Alternate Forms: 
Different Age Forms: 
Altered Version Forms: 


Clinical Cutoffs: 
Internal Consistencyalpha0.650.81n/a
Parallel/Alternate Formst-tests & correlationr=0.12r=0.46n/a
Number of Test-Retest Days: 
3 weeks (21 days)
References for Reliability: 

Test-retest reliability: More info would be valuable (Marsac & Alderfer, 2010)

Internal consistency: Appropriate for research but may not be ready for clinical use (Franklin, Streeter, & Springer, 2001)

Inter-rater reliability: Further analysis across family members needed (Marsac & Alderfer, 2010)

Olson (2011)

NOTE: See end of document for full references.

Content Validity Evaluated: 
References for Content Validity: 

Franklin, Streeter, & Springer (2001).

Marsac & Alderfer (2010).

Olson (2011).

Construct Validity Evaluated: 
Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to ChangeX
Intervention EffectsX
Longitudinal/Maturation EffectsX
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct GroupsX
Factorial ValidityYes
References for Construct Validity: 

Franklin, Streeter, & Springer (2001).

Marsac & Alderfer (2010).

Olson (2011).

Criterion Validity Evaluated: 
Criterion Validity: 
Not KnownNot FoundNonclinical SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Predictive Validity:X
Postdictive Validity:
References for Criterion Validity: 

Predictive Validity: Future research should examine this (Marsac & Alderfer).

Concurrent Validity: Family therapists from AAMFT who described 4 unbalanced scales as accurately representing 4 unbalanced areas (Olson, 2011). Examined correlations between domains on the following scales and those on FACES-IV: McMaster Family Assessment Device, Family Satsfaction Scale, Perceived Collective Family Efficacy Scale, Perceived Parental Self-Efficacy Scale, Revised Children’s Report of Parental Behavior Inventory, Self-Report Family Inventory, Social Support Behavior Scale, and Multi-Problem Screening Inventory (Franklin et al., 2001; Marsac & Alderfer, 2010; Olson, 2011).

Franklin, Streeter, & Springer (2001)

Marsac & Alderfer (2010)

Olson (2011)


Translation Quality: 
Language:TranslatedBack TranslatedReliableGood PsychometricsSimilar Factor StructureNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for This Group
1. Spanish (Rivero, Martinez-Pampliega & Olson, 2010)XXXXX
2. Italian (Baiocco, Cacioppo, Laghi, & Tafa, 2013; Loriedo, Nuovo, & Visani, 2013)XXXXX
3. Greek (Koutra, Triliva, Roumeliotaki, Lionis, & Vgontzas)XXXXX
4. Hungarian (Mirnics, Vargha, Toth, & Bagdy, 2010)XXXX

Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

Modified convenience & snowball sample recruited from junior-level family systems and diversity university course in major midwestern metropolitan area over 1 year period - 469 usable data; 15% family members; avg. age = 28; range: 18-59; 2/3 single and female; 1/3 married; 80% Caucasian, 7% Asian American, 6% African American, 2% Hispanic, 2% Native American

For Specific Population: 
Military and Veteran Families
Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Medical Trauma
Other Populations: 
Pediatric oncology - internal consistencies valid, evidence of construct validity, recommend more research prior to use w/ families of children w/ cancer and/or other chronic illnesses; enmeshed & rigid subscales may need further development (Marsac & Ald

Pros & Cons/References


Most of the subscales have good discriminant validity, excluding the Disengaged and Chaotic subscales which are relatively highly correlated (r = .60; Franklin et al., 2001).

The Cohesion subscale does a particularly good job assessing factors involved in the Circumplex Model (Franklin et al., 2001).

Appropriate for use in nomothetic research (Franklin et al., 2001)


Disengaged & Chaotic domains not entirely independent (Franklin et al., 2001)

Additional research or tweaking of the measure is needed before using with clinical populations (Franklin et al., 2001)

Internal consistency has been found to be as low as .65 (Marsac & Alderfer, 2010)


Baiocco, R., Cacioppo, M., Laghi, F., & Tafa, M. (2013). Factorial and construct validity of FACES IV among Italian adolescents. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 22, 962-970. doi: 10.1007/s10826-012-9658-1

Franklin, C., Streeter, C. L., Springer, D. W. (2001). Validity of the FACES IV Family Assessment Measure. Research on Social Work Practice 11, 576-596.

Koutra, K., Triliva, S., Roumeliotaki, T., Lionis, C., & Vgontzas, A. N. (2013). Cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the Greek Version of the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales IV Package (FACES IV Package). Journal of Family Issues, 34, 1647-1672. doi: 10.1177/0192513X12462818

Loriedo, C., Nuovo, S. D., & Visani, E. (2013). FACES-IV: Italian reliability and validity. 1-16.
Marsac, M. L., & Alderfer, M. A. (2010). Psychometric Properties of the FACES-IV in a Pediatric Oncology Population. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 36, 528-538.

Olson, D. (2011). FACES IV and the Circumplex Model: Validation Study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 37(1), 64-80.

Rivero, N., Martínez-Pampliega, A., & Olson, D. H. (2010). Spanish Adaptation of the FACES IV Questionnaire: Psychometric Characteristics. The Family Journal 18, 288-296.

Mirnics, Z., Vargha, A., Toth, M., & Bagdy, E. (2010). Cross-cultural applicability of FACES IV. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 21, 17-33.

Developer of Review: 
Haley Miles-McLean, Clinical Research Assistant
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, April 22, 2014