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The family environment scale (FES) is family assessment measure used to measure the social-environmental characteristics of families. It can be used in several ways, in family counseling and psychotherapy, to teach program evaluators about family systems, and in program evaluation.
The FES measures the family in three ways, how the family members feel the family acts as is (real), how the family would act in a perfect situation (ideal), and in a new situation (expected). It has ten subscales measuring three underlying dimensions of the family environment: relationship, personal growth, and system maintenance and change.
Three subscales refer to relationship: cohesion, expressiveness, and conflict:
- cohesion is the degree of commitment and support family members provide for one another,
- expressiveness is the extent to family members are encouraged to express their feelings directly, and
- conflict is the amount of openly expressed ange and conflict among family members.
Five subscales refer to personal growth: independence, achievement orientation, intellectual-cultural orientation, active-recreational orientation, and moral-religious emphasis. Independence assesses the extent to which family members are assertive, self-sufficient and make their own decisions. Achievement Orientation reflects how much activities are cast into an achievement oriented or competitive framework. Intellectual-cultural orientation measures the level of interest in political, intellectual, and cultural activities. Active-recreational orientation measures the amount of participation in social and recreational activities. Moral-religious emphasis assesses the emphasis on ethical and religious issues and values.
The final two subscales, organization and control, are for system maintenance. These measure how much planning is put into family activities and responsibilities and how much set rules and procedures are used to run family life.