GARF Development

As the only truly systemic family relations diagnostic tool to be included in the DSM-IV, the GARF was developed by leaders in the field of family assessment. It was intended to be simple to learn and use. However, a basic understanding of family systems functioning seems to be necessary in order to accurately interpret the rating. In the DSM-IV (1996) appendix describing the GARF, the dimensionalized scale (1–100) is grouped into five twenty-point categories ranging from, at the top of the scale, “81–100 Overall. Relational unit is functioning satisfactorily from self-report of participants and from perspectives of observers” (p. 758) to “1–20 Overall. Relational unit has become too dysfunctional to retain continuity of contact and attachment” (p. 759) at the bottom. These ratings are based on three basic variables that describe system functioning (DSM-IV 1994, p. 758):

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