Assessment of family functioning at multiple levels: an exploratory investigation of the dynamic assessment of family functioning inventory ' demonstrated under clinical conditions (DAFFI-DUCC): how despicable is the DAFFI-DUCC?

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Family assessments that consider multiple levels of family functioning serve to provide a more comprehensive picture of family functioning, as well as highlight those areas most in need of problem remediation and intervention. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the reliability of the Dynamic Assessment of Family Functioning Inventory ' Demonstrated Under Clinical Conditions (DAFFI-DUCC; Cerio, 2009), a novel, multilevel assessment of family functioning designed for clinicians-in-training. The study had two foci: 1) to determine if raters, in general, identify the same problems, structural components, and dynamic interactions of a given family; and 2) to determine the extent to which a raters' training and professional experience effects ratings on the DAFFIDUCC. Results demonstrated that, in general, there were many theoretically circumscribed areas that raters, regardless of training or experience, were able to agree upon as being highly problematic. Between group differences may be attributed to differences in raters' theoretical orientations that employ different 'languages' when working with and assessing a family, or to a given rater's lack of specificity of response (i.e., offering multiple explanations for a given phenomena). Overall, although the DAFFI-DUCC is a heuristic instrument that facilitates the acquisition of family systems concepts for the burgeoning clinician, and is capable of providing guidance for session planning and problem remediation, the current version of this assessment tool does not appear to be practical for practicing clinicians. Its qualitative format lends to subjective interpretations that, in specific DAFFI-DUCC domains, are not readily interpretable. Although there was significant agreement about certain components of family functioning, the lack of specificity/instruction in areas such as structural diagramming, as well as the difficulty in categorizing metaphors due to their subjective relativity, make the DAFFI-DUCC an inadequate tool for assessing families without further development and revision.
Dissertation completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Psychology degree in School Psychology at Alfred University, Alfred, NY.
Dynamic Assessment of Family Functioning Inventory ' Demonstrated Under Clinical Conditions (DAFFI-DUCC), Family functioning