n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Development of a family functioning scale for the South African context : the substantive validity phase

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



The assessment of family functioning in child maltreatment prevention has led to a renewed emphasis on measures that are suitable for the assessment of this construct across contexts. Existing measures, predominantly developed and validated in Western countries, do not consistently conform to the South African context, which is typified by a range of family structures. In the absence of a suitable family assessment instrument applicable for use in low-income South African settings and drawing on existing measures, the study that is reported aimed to develop and validate a standardised family functioning scale for administration to families with children aged 0-7 years. Specifically, this article reports on the substantive validity phase of developing the Family Functioning Scale (FFS). Obtaining from a preceding critical review of indices, the study process involved the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the construct of family functioning, item generation, and item refinement. The study represents an essential step in establishing the construct validity of the FFS. It is envisaged that the validated version of the FFS will contribute to the identification of risk and protective factors for child maltreatment in low-income neighbourhoods in South Africa, and the formulation of preventative interventions.

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