Validity of the Kinetic Family Drawings as a measurement of the perception of family relationships and family dynamics

Frances R. Baer Lieberman, Pace University


This research was an exploratory study to assess the Kinetic Family Drawing (KFD) as a measure of children's perceptions of their family environment and their relationships with their parents. Seventy KFD features were compared with two objective measures, the Family Environment Scale (FES), a measure of the family's social climate, and the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), a measure of parental care and protection. The subjects of this research were fifty children from intact families, ages 9 to 17, from two private schools, whose parents agreed to their participation. Tests were administered to groups of varying size. Children first completed the KFD, then the FES and PBI were administered in counterbalanced order. The subscale scores of the PBI and FES were correlated with quantified scores for individual KFD features. Analysis of this data revealed patterns of relationships between specific KFD drawing features and qualities of parental relationships and family climate that were consistent with psychodynamic theories of development. The results reflect both the importance of the mother as the primary care giver and organizer of the family, and significance of the marital relationship in establishing the stability and emotional tone of the family. Gender differences were obtained that are consistent with psychodynamic developmental theories. The information gathered in this research provides the basis for a system of scoring and interpreting the KFD, grounded in both psychodynamic theories and Murray's theory of environmental press. Although the results are meaningful and have clinical usefulness, replication of this study is recommended with a larger and more diverse population of children, focusing on the patterns emerging here.

Subject Area

Psychological tests|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Lieberman, Frances R. Baer, "Validity of the Kinetic Family Drawings as a measurement of the perception of family relationships and family dynamics" (1992). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9225986.



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