Level validity of self-report whole-family measures

Willeke A. Manders, William L. Cook, Johan H. L. Oud, Ron H. J. Scholte, Jan M. A. M. Janssens, Eric E. J. De Bruyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This article introduces an approach to testing the level validity of family assessment instruments (i.e., whether a family instrument measures family functioning at the level of the system it purports to assess). Two parents and 2 adolescents in 69 families rated the warmth in each of their family relationships and in the family as a whole. Family members' ratings of whole-family warmth assessed family functioning not only at the family level (i.e., characteristics of the family as a whole) but also at the individual level of analysis (i.e., characteristics of family members as raters), indicating a lack of level validity. Evidence was provided for the level validity of a latent variable based on family members' ratings of whole-family warmth. The findings underscore the importance of assessing the level validity of individual ratings of whole-family functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-613
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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