Research of the past three decades has repeatedly implicated the family in the aetiology, course, treatment, and prevention of most psychopathological disorders. Equally important, there is increasing recognition that family influences play a key role in a range of major social problems, which although not achieving psychiatric status, are critical to the physical and psychological welfare of millions. Further, studies of normative family transitions such as marriage, childbirth, ageing, and death are of increasing interest in both the development and prevention of psychopathology. Regardless of disciplinary identification, theoretical orientation, or substantive focus, all family researchers must ultimately select, revise, or develop measurement procedures that operationalize the family constructs they wish to investigate.

In pursuing this goal, the investigator soon encounters a tremendous number of instrument choices ...

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