Tracing the Pink Ribbon: Development of a Family Resilience Measure

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Virginia Tech


Resilience is one of the most important biopsychosocial concepts in contemporary social science. It may mediate the impact of adversity on family health, and be a potential location for intervention. There is a need for conceiving of the mechanisms within families that impact their health throughout the life cycle, including the investigation of how they handle illness. One framework that may assist in this is Walsh's family resilience framework. Previous attempts to create an empirical measure of this framework have serious issues with validity. The purpose of this study is to create a reliable and valid instrument that investigates Walsh's framework from the view of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The study uses feminist theory to emphasize a pluralistic application of family systems theory in the understanding and promotion of the experience of women, the promotion of all families over one family type, and the concept of intersectionality.

A non-experimental quantitative design is used to develop a reliable and valid instrument that investigates Walsh's framework. A pilot study addressed the creation and revision of the Family Resilience Assessment (FRA), and a main study tested the revised FRA for emergent factors and model fit. Results indicate excellent reliability and beginning content, construct, and convergent validity. Analyses produced a better fitting model that replaces three latent variables with one and correlates two of the nine framework indicators.

These preliminary analyses demonstrate that the FRA may be a valuable instrument with replication with larger samples and further revisions needed. Results further indicate that Walsh's framework is a sound method for conceiving of and better understanding family resilience. The framework may also be one way to study the mediating impact of family resilience on family health.



breast cancer, feminist, instrument, family resilience, family health