2015 National Conference

3005 — The Family Resilience Scale for Veterans (FRS-V): Development and Preliminary Validation among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

Finley EP, South Texas Veterans Health Care System; University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; Palmer RL, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; Haro EK, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; Pugh MV, South Texas Veterans Health Care System; University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio;

Although interactions within veterans' families may support or inhibit resilient coping across the deployment cycle, research on family resilience has been hampered by lack of a brief assessment. In this VA-funded research, we developed a measure of family resilience tailored for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Family Resilience Scale for Veterans (FRS-V), with the goals of evaluating the FRS-V and identifying critical components of veteran family resilience.

We followed a mixed-method scale development and validation process in three stages. Stage 1: Development, content validation, and iterative refinement of the FRS-V item pool in consultation with an expert panel. Stage 2: Interview-based cognitive testing of items among IAV veterans and their spouses and significant others. Stage 3: Field-testing using a mailed survey of IAV (N = 151) to assess reliability and validity; additional measures assessed family coping and distress, individual resilience and social support, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms. We also examined factor structure of the FRS-V to assess overlap with coping and communication processes outlined in Walsh's (2006) model of family resilience.

The final 15-item FRS-V has a Cronbach's alpha of 0.90 and was significantly negatively associated with established measures of family distress (p < .05) and symptoms of PTSD (p < .01) and depression (p < .01), and positively associated with individual resilience (p < .01), social support (p < .01), and family coping (p < .0001). Factor analysis revealed four scale factors corresponding to: 1) Connectedness and Heedfulness; 2) Family Efficacy; 3) Spirituality; and 4) Social Resources.

The FRS-V was associated as predicted with well-accepted measures of individual resilience, family coping and distress, social support, post-deployment reintegration and self-efficacy, and symptoms of PTSD and depression, all of which suggest it is line with the theorized role played by family resilience in the post-deployment period. Correlations were moderate in effect size, indicating the FRS-V captures a distinctive construct.

The FRS-V shows strong initial reliability and validity and is likely to have clinical and research utility in tailoring and evaluating services for veterans and their families.