Protective Factors Survey, 2nd Edition (PFS-2)

Assessment Rating:
B – Psychometrics Demonstrated
See entire scale

Univ. of KS Ctr for Public Partnerships & Research (Leads: Jessica Sprague-Jones, PhD; Jacqueline Counts, PhD; Mallory Rousseau, MA) & FRIENDS Nat'l Ctr for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (Leads: Casandra Firman, MS; Valerie Spiva Collins, DHSc)

Description / Purpose:

Type of Tool: The PSF-2 is an Assessment Tool

The PFS-2 assesses multiple protective factors that prevent child abuse and neglect. The PFS-2 is intended to help agencies and programs better assess changes in family protective factors and identify areas programs can focus efforts to strengthen protective factors.

The PFS-2 is a 19-item, self-administered pretest–posttest or retrospective survey that measures protective factors in five areas: family functioning and resilience (items 1–3), nurturing and attachment (items 4–8), social supports (items 9–12), caregiver/practitioner relationship (items 13–15), and concrete supports (items 16–19).

The primary purpose of the PFS-2 is to provide feedback to agencies for continuous quality improvement and evaluation purposes. The survey results are designed to help agencies measure changes in protective factors and identify areas where workers can focus on increasing individual family protective factors. The PFS-2 may also be used as a needs assessment.

Target Population: The PFS-2 is an evaluation tool for use with parents and caregivers receiving child maltreatment prevention services.

Time to Administer: The survey takes approximately 10015015 minutes to complete for in-person administration in a group setting.

Completed By: Self-administered by parents and caregivers who are receiving child maltreatment prevention services.

Modalities Available: Pen and paper, Online, and Other: The PFS-2 is available as a traditional pretest-posttest, and as a retrospective pretest. The concrete supports items (16–19) are also available as a standalone instrument. An online database is available for the administration and management of data collected by the tool. There is a nominal fee associated with use of the system that covers the storage of data collected. More information on this can be accessed at

Scoring Information: The paper version of the PFS-2 may be scored by hand using the below score conversions. Scoring instructions are described in detail in the accompanying user manual, and a PFS-2 Scoring Instructions guide is available for download ( | For items 1–3, 8–11, 14, 15, and 19: A=0; B=1; C=2; D=3; E=4 | For items 4–7, 13, and 18: A=4; B=3; C=2; D=1; E=0 | For item 12: None of the above = 0; 1 box checked = 1; 2 boxes checked = 2; 3 boxes checked = 3; 4 or more boxes checked = 4 | For items 16 and 17: I was able to pay for all of these/None of these apply to me = 4; 1 box checked = 3; 2 boxes checked = 2; 3 boxes checked = 1; 4 or more boxes checked = 0 | Users of the online data system have access to reports that will complete the scoring process automatically based on data entered into the system.

Languages Available: English

Training Requirements for Intended Users: There are no degree or licensing requirements to use the tool. A detailed user manual is available which includes all necessary information required to administer the instrument.

Availability: All materials, including the user manual and supporting guides, are available for download ( and are free of charge. Manual Citation FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention. (2018). Protective Factors Survey, 2nd edition (PFS-2) user manual.

Contact Information

Company: FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
Name: Alicia Luckie

Summary of Relevant Psychometric Research

This tool has received the Measurement Tools Rating of "B – Psychometrics Demonstrated" based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The tool must have 1 published, peer-reviewed study that has established the measure’s psychometrics (e.g., reliability and validity, sensitivity and specificity, etc.). Please see the Measurement Tools Rating Scale for more information.

Sprague-Jones, J., Counts, J., Rousseau, M., & Firman, C. (2019). The development of the Protective Factors Survey, 2nd edition: A self-report measure of protective factors against child maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 89, 122–134.


Participants — Two samples (N=213 and N=109)

Race/Ethnicity — 29.6–30.3% Hispanic/Latino, 29.4–29.6% African American, 26.6–28.6% White, 4.6–5.2% Multiracial, 1.9–4.6% Asian, 1.4–2.8% Prefer not answer, 0.9–2.3% Native American/Alaskan Native, 0.9% Other, & 0.5–0.9% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander


The purpose of this study was to revise the PFS in response to feedback from practitioners and analyze the internal structure of new items. A team of researchers generated new items informed by the literature on protective factors against child maltreatment and best practices in survey design to address feedback from the field and improve sensitivity to change. They conducted focus groups with caregivers and practitioners to review new items, and then fielded revised items using panel data. They conducted exploratory factor analyses to obtain a small, integrated set of items that tap the targeted protective factors. Exploratory factor analyses yield a five-factor solution accounting for 54.1% of the variance. Items were removed due to low loadings, nontrivial cross-loadings, and parsimony, yielding a final scale with 24 items. Coefficient alphas for all subscales were within the acceptable range of 0.70, with Family Functioning and Resilience =0.88; Nurturing and Attachment =0.78; Social Supports=0.83; Concrete Supports=0.80; and Caregiver/Practitioner Relationship =0.77. Initial evidence from the panel data suggests that the new subscales are internally consistent. Future research will establish reliability and validity.

Sprague-Jones, J., Singh, P., Rousseau, M., Counts, J., & Firman, C. (2020). The Protective Factors Survey, 2nd Edition: Establishing validity and reliability of a self-report measure of protective factors against child maltreatment. Children and Youth Services Review, 111, Article 104868.


Participants — N=826

Race/Ethnicity — 65% White (Non-Hispanic/ European American), 18% African American, 7% Hispanic/Latino, 4% Native American or Alaskan Native, 4% Multiracial, and 1% Other


This study describes a national field test collecting PFS-2 data across 60 individual program sites in seven states. Cronbach's alphas for each subscale were, for pretest and posttest respectively: Family Functioning/Resilience (0.826, 0.817); Nurturing and Attachment (0.812, 0.765); Social Supports (0.786, 0.753); Caregiver/Practitioner Relationship (0.607, 0.594); and Concrete Supports (0.795, 0.817). The results demonstrate adequate levels of internal consistency for each subscale, with the exception of the Caregiver/ Practitioner Relationship subscale, which had levels approaching adequacy. The study also investigated the criterion-related validity of the PFS-2 using panel data which surveyed respondents with the PFS-2 subscales alongside other validated instruments. This data was used to identify correlations between PFS-2 subscales and known risk factors of child maltreatment (i.e., depression, stress, heightened abuse potential, maladaptive coping strategies), measures that assess family resources and support, and the protective factors measured by the original Protective Factors Survey (PFS). Results of this stage of analysis suggest this survey has good psychometric properties measuring protective factors which reduce the probability of child abuse and maltreatment.

Date Reviewed: October 2020 (Originally reviewed in October 2020)