Developing the concept of family involvement and the alienation questionnaire in the context of psychiatric care

Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2008 Dec;17(6):439-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0349.2008.00570.x.


Research shows that family members of people with a mental illness often experience a lack of involvement in the psychiatric care of their relative. An interpretation of the findings of these studies raises the question of whether the family members' experience of not being involved can be conceptualized in terms of alienation towards mental health services from their encounter with psychiatric care. In order to explore this possibility, the Family Involvement and Alienation Questionnaire (FIAQ) was constructed, guided by relevant theoretical frameworks and empirical research. The content validity of the questionnaire was evaluated by two groups of experienced researchers who had sound knowledge of the theoretical frameworks used. Validity based on the response process was evaluated by the parents of people with mental illness. The reliability of the questionnaire was evaluated by a test-retest design with a group of 15 family members. The data were analyzed by a non-parametric statistical method. The results of the validity and reliability evaluations showed that of the 46 original items in the questionnaire, 28 would be useful in exploring the concept of family involvement and alienation in the context of psychiatric care. Further, minor modifications could make the FIAQ useful in exploring these concepts in other settings.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychotic Disorders / nursing*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Alienation / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*