Recent attempts to compare conceptual and empirical models of family assessment have met with mixed to disappointingly low levels of cross-model convergence, particularly in comparative research with Olson's Circumplex Model. Some attempts to explain these findings, particularly the lack of support for curvilinearity of Olson's scales, posit that differences in method (observation vs. self-report) may account for these disparate results. More recently, theoretical reviews by Lee and others have raised issues regarding the theoretical framework of the Circumplex Model. The present study used similar assessment methodology (self-report) in comparing the Beavers Systems Model and the Olson Circumplex Model's FACES II and FACES III. In a general nonclinical sample, Adaptability and Cohesion factors on both FACES instruments showed strong linear correlations with the Self-Report Family Inventory's (SFI; Beavers model) Health/Competence scale-a linear, directional scale. When three groups of subjects were formed on the basis of family health, significant differences existed in the scores on the FACES II and III scales, which followed a strong directional trend, supported also by correlational analyses. Theoretical classification of items on FACES II and III showed mixed levels of linearity/curvilinearity within each factor. Discussions regarding methodology and clinical utility of family assessment models are provided.
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