Three hundred and twenty seven eighth grade students completed the Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI) (Coopersmith, 1984) and the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluations Scale (FACES III) (Olson, Portner, & Lavee, 1985), as participants in a study investigating the relationship between
self-esteem and perceptions of family characteristics. The students' scores on the FACES 111 scale were cast into the sixteen cells of the Circumplex Model (Olson, Russell, & Sprenkle 1979, 1983), so that variations in SEI scores could be examined in this framework. Consistent with
expectations, there was systematic covariation between SEI and FACES scores. Mean SEI scores increased monotonically with increases in cohesion, while they varied in a curvilinear fashion with increases in adaptability. This latter pattern was more in line with Olson et al.'s theoretical
formulations than the former one. Results of a correlational analysis between SEI scores and Olson et al.'s “Distance from the Center” index, were consistent with the view that optimal functioning tended to be found towards the center, that is at moderate overall combined
levels of cohesion and adaptability. These results were examined in the light of the relevant parent-child relations literature. It was noted that the most important parallel appeared to be between parental warmth and family cohesion.