Problem And Significance: Reliable and valid measures of family functioning may help to reduce health disparities by correctly identifying both strengths and weaknesses in families and by directing scarce resources where needed. Many measures of family functioning have shown unacceptable reliability and validity when used with the growing population of low-income African American single-parent families. A reliable and valid measure of family functioning in this population will allow family scientists to better identify both strengths and weaknesses in this population of families and to develop interventions to enhance family strengths. ? ? Purpose: The purpose of this study is produce a reliable and valid instrument to assess family functioning in this underserved population by conducting psychometric testing and further refinement of the 42-item Family Effectiveness Measure (FEM), an instrument developed from qualitative data to assess family functioning with low-income, African American, single-parent families with children. ? Aims:
The specific aims are to assess the following psychometric properties of the FEM: 1) factor structure, by conducting exploratory factor analysis; 2) reliability, by determining internal consistency and stability (testretest) coefficients; 3) construct validity, by testing hypothesized relationships between the FEM and measures of aspects of family well-being (family conflict, satisfaction with family interaction) and individual well-being (depression), which are theoretically and empirically known to be related to family functioning; and 4) construct validity, by conducting Rasch analysis to further evaluate the dimensionality of the measure, the extent to which items tap the breadth of the construct, and the extent to which persons respond to items in coherent ways. ? ? Methods: The FEM and validating instruments will be administered one time to a sample of 420 low-income African American single mothers. A subsample of 84 (20%) will be randomly selected to complete the FEM after 2 weeks to assess stability (test-retest) reliability. Factor analysis will be performed, reliability coefficients will be calculated, and hypothesized relationships among the measures will be tested by correlations. Items will be revised, added, or eliminated if warranted based on the study findings. ? ? ?