Family Functioning and Child Psychopathology: Individual versus Composite Family Scores

By Mathijssen, Jolanda J. J. P.; Koot, Hans M. et al. | Family Relations, July 1997 | Go to article overview

Family Functioning and Child Psychopathology: Individual versus Composite Family Scores


Mathijssen, Jolanda J. J. P., Koot, Hans M., Verhulst, Frank C., De Bruyn, Eric E. J., Oud, Johan H. L., Family Relations


Family Functioning and Child Psychopathology: Individual versus Composite Family Scores *

Jolanda J. J. P. Mathijssen,** Hans M. Koot, Frank C. Verhulst, Eric E. J. De Bruyn, and Johan H. L. Oud

This study examined the relationship of individual family members' perceptions and family mean and discrepancy scores of cohesion and adaptability with child psychopathology in a sample of 138 families, referred to Regional Mental Health Agencies. The results indicate that the family mean scores, contrary to the family discrepancy scores, explain more of the variance in parent-reported child psychopathology than individual scores. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.

From different perspectives, such as sociological, psychological and family systems theory, it is assumed that the family plays an important role in the development and maintenance of psychopathology in children (Hetherington & Martin, 1986; Jacob & Tennenbaum, 1988).

A major problem in family research is to obtain information that will reflect the family as a unit and yield true family characteristics (Fisher, Kokes, Ransom, Philips, & Rudd, 1985). Although researchers recognize that responses of multiple family members are needed to obtain a more representative view of the family, collecting data from more than one family member does not automatically yield family data. Still, in the majority of studies on the relation between family functioning and child psychopathology, the individual scores of different family members are not aggregated to construct a family-based measure (Blaske, Borduin, Henggeler, & Mann, 1989; Farrell & Barnes, 1993; Friedman, Utada, & Morrisey, 1987; Kiser et al., 1988; Natakusumah et al., 1992; Prange et al., 1992; Volk, Edwards, Lewis, & Sprenkle, 1989; Watson, Henggeler, & Whelan, 1990). In these studies conclusions are drawn at the family level from data collected at the level of the individual family member. Individual perceptions of family functioning may have considerable value and may show relations with psychopathology in family members, but they are by definition not appropriate to draw conclusions about the relation between the functioning of the family as a unit and the individual's psychopathology. A challenging question is then how scores based on individual perceptions should be combined into a family score. This is not an easy task, because family members, in particular children and their parents, differ considerably in their perception of the family (Noller & Callan, 1986; Tein, Roosa, & Michaels,1994). Some researchers question aggregation because of the differences between family members (Tein et al., 1994), whereas others argue in favor of aggregation (Schwarz, Barton-Henry, & Pruzinsky, 1985). However, this lack of high agreement should not prevent us from exploring ways to treat data from different family members (cf. Wampler & Halverson, 1993). For example, Jacob and Tennenbaum (1988) made a plea for the development of composite scores from individual reports followed by a comparison of the individual and composite scores regarding their relationship with key variables.

The examination of both individual and family composite scores is important, because it provides the opportunity to investigate whether it is valuable to compute family scores. In the present study we used two different family scores, i.e., the mean of individual family members' scores and the discrepancy between scores of individual family members regarding family functioning, in order to examine their relative association with child problem behavior. Especially for clinical purposes, this information is very important. However, as far as we know, this comparison has never been addressed in previous research.

The computation of an arithmetic mean offers the possibility of locating the family on a scale relative to other families, but has the disadvantage of blurring individual differences. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Family Functioning and Child Psychopathology: Individual versus Composite Family Scores
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.