Title: Development and validation of a self-report measure of mentalizing: The Reflective Functioning Questionnaire
Authors: Fonagy, Peter ×
Luyten, Patrick
Moulton-Perkins, Alesia
Lee, Ya-Wen
Warren, Fiona
Howard, Susan
Ghinai, Rosanna
Fearon, Pasco
Lowyck, Benedicte #
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Publisher: Public Library of Sciene
Series Title: PLoS One
Article number: 0158678
Abstract: Reflective functioning or mentalizing is the capacity to interpret both the self and others in
terms of internal mental states such as feelings, wishes, goals, desires, and attitudes. This
paper is part of a series of papers outlining the development and psychometric features of a
new self-report measure, the Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (RFQ), designed to provide
an easy to administer self-report measure of mentalizing. We describe the development
and initial validation of the RFQ in three studies. Study 1 focuses on the development
of the RFQ, its factor structure and construct validity in a sample of patients with Borderline
Personality Disorder (BPD) and Eating Disorder (ED) (n = 108) and normal controls (n =
295). Study 2 aims to replicate these findings in a fresh sample of 129 patients with personality
disorder and 281 normal controls. Study 3 addresses the relationship between the
RFQ, parental reflective functioning and infant attachment status as assessed with the
Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) in a sample of 136 community mothers and their infants.
In both Study 1 and 2, confirmatory factor analyses yielded two factors assessing Certainty
(RFQ_C) and Uncertainty (RFQ_U) about the mental states of self and others. These two
factors were relatively distinct, invariant across clinical and non-clinical samples, had satisfactory
internal consistency and test–retest stability, and were largely unrelated to demographic
features. The scales discriminated between patients and controls, and were
significantly and in theoretically predicted ways correlated with measures of empathy, mindfulness
and perspective-taking, and with both self-reported and clinician-reported measures
of borderline personality features and other indices of maladaptive personality functioning.
Furthermore, the RFQ scales were associated with levels of parental reflective functioning,
which in turn predicted infant attachment status in the SSP. Overall, this study lends preliminary
support for the RFQ as a screening measure of reflective functioning. Further research
is needed, however, to investigate in more detail the psychometric qualities of the RFQ.
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Clinical Psychology
Research Group Psychiatry
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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