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FACES III (Family Adaptation and Cohesion Scales)

Olson, D.H. (1985). FACES III (Family Adaptation and Cohesion Scales). St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota.

FACES III was developed to assess two major dimensions on the circumplex model: adaptation and cohesion of the family. The circumplex model is a classification system of 16 family types and three or more general types: balanced, mid-range, and extreme. The measure can be used with families across the life-cycle from newlyweds with no children to retired couples. The authors report that children over 12 years old can complete the FACES III to allow for comparisons between family members.

Family cohesion assesses degree of separation or connection of family members to the family. There are four levels of family cohesion ranging from extreme low cohesion to extreme high cohesion: disengaged, separated, connected, and enmeshed. There are four levels of adaptability: rigid, structured, flexible, chaotic.

Family members answer twenty statements (e.g., family members ask each other for help; it is hard to identify the leaders in our family) by estimating the relative truth of the statement. A second scale measures what the family member would like in the ideal situation (e.g., family members would ask each other for help; we would know who the leader was in our family).

Editor's note: There is now a FACES IV.

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