Family Assessment Measure-III (FAM-III)

Assessment Rating:
A – Psychometrics Well-Demonstrated
See entire scale

Harvey A. Skinner, PhD; Paul D. Steinhauer, MD; and Jack Santa-Barbara, PhD

Description / Purpose:

The FAM-III is an assessment of family functioning. There are three self-report subscales: The General Scale assesses overall family health; the Dyadic Relationships Scale looks at how each family member views his or her relationship with each other family member; and the Self-Rating Scale asks each person to rate his or her own level of functioning within the family. The FAM-III is intended for preliminary screening, and as an adjunct to clinical assessment and treatment monitoring.

Target Population: Family members from 10 years of age through adult.

Time to Administer: Approximately 20 minutes per scale, 60 minutes total. The General Scale has 50 items; the Dyadic and Self-Rating Scales have 42 items each. Note: a brief Family Assessment Measure (FAM) is available, requiring 5 minutes per scale.

Completed By: Family members from 10 years of age through adult, however, a parent can fill out the assessment even if his/her child is younger than 10 years of age.

Modalities Available: Pen and paper; online; Windows-based software

Scoring Information: Hand-scored or scoring software available.

Languages Available: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish — the rating for the measure is based solely on the English version of the measure.

Training Requirements for Intended Users: University-level training in psychological assessment, tests, and measurement or the equivalent.

Availability: The FAM-III may be purchased at the Multi-Health System's website.

Contact Information

Company: Multi-Health Systems, Inc.
Phone: (800) 456-3003
Fax: (888) 540-4484

Summary of Relevant Psychometric Research

This tool has received the Measurement Tools Rating of "A – Psychometrics Well-Demonstrated" based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The tool must have 2 or more published, peer-reviewed studies that have established the measure’s psychometrics (e.g., reliability and validity, sensitivity and specificity, etc.). Please see the Measurement Tools Rating Scale for more information.

Show relevant research...

Skinner, H. A., Steinhauer, P. D., & Santa-Barbara, J. (1983). The Family Assessment Measure. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 2(2), 91–105.


Participants — 475 families participating in Toronto-based health and social service settings.

Race/Ethnicity — Not Specified


Families in this study were divided into "Problem" and "Non-Problem" families. Problem families currently had one or more family member receiving treatment for psychiatric problems, substance abuse, school, or major legal problems. Family members who were at least 10 years old completed the FAM. The three subscales were found to have good internal reliability for both adult and child participants. The diagnostic power of the scale was assessed by comparing Problem and Non-Problem families. The FAM successfully distinguished between groups, with Problem families having significantly different scores on role performance and involvement and Non-Problem families scoring higher in the areas of Social Desirability and Denial.

Jacob, T. (1995). The role of time frame in the assessment of family functioning. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 21(3), 281–288.


Participants — Families with at least one adolescent between 12 and 18, recruited from newspaper advertisements.

Race/Ethnicity — 90% White


Families in this study completed the Family Environment Scale (FES), the FAM, and the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (FACES-II). Scales were completed more than once and the instructions regarding time frame were varied. For example, at one assessment a participant might be asked to describe their family "in general" and at another assessment to describe them "during the past week." All three assessments showed good test-retest reliability for parents and children and high positive correlations between the different time-frame instruction conditions. However, most subscales did show differences in overall scores across the two instruction conditions. The exception was the FAM which did not show significant time-frame instruction effects. The author suggests that this may be due to a greater emphasis on general characteristics versus specific behaviors for the FAM, relative to the other two measures.

Skinner, H., Steinhauer, P., & Sitarenios, G. (2000). Family Assessment Measure (FAM) and Process Model of Family Functioning. Journal of Family Therapy, 22(2), 190–210.


Participants — Not applicable – review paper

Race/Ethnicity — Not applicable – review paper


This paper provides an overview of twenty years’ work in the development of the Family Assessment Measure (FAM), based on the Process Model of Family Functioning. The Process Model describes a conceptual framework for conducting family assessments according to seven key dimensions: task accomplishment, role performance, communication, affective expression, involvement, control, values and norms. The FAM provides measures of these dimensions at three levels: whole family system (general scale, fifty items), various dyadic relationships (dyadic scale, forty-two items) and individual functioning (self-rating scale, forty-two items). In addition, the general scale includes social desirability and defensiveness response style measures. Brief FAMs (fourteen items) are available for each scale as well. The measurement properties of FAM have been evaluated in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings. Reliability estimates are very good in most contexts. FAM’s validity has been supported using a number of techniques. Overall, the weight of the evidence is that FAM’s effectively and efficiently assess family functioning and provide strong explanatory and predictive utility. This empirical evidence reinforces experiences of clinicians, indicating that FAM provides a rich source of information on family functioning

Date Reviewed: July 2020 (Originally reviewed in July 2009)