Advancing optimal development in children: Examining the construct validity of a parent reflective functioning questionnaire

Monica de Roo, Gina Wong, Gwen R. Rempel, Shawn N. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Parental reflective functioning (PRF) is the capacity parents have to understand their own mental states and those of their children, as well as the influence of those mental states on behavior. Parents with greater capacity for PRF are more likely to foster secure attachment with their children. The Parental Development Interview is a gold standard measure of PRF but is hampered by cost, training, and length of administration. The 18-item Parent Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (PRFQ-18) is a simpler option developed to capture 3 types of PRF: (1) prementalizing, (2) parent’s certainty, and (3) interest and curiosity surrounding a child’s mental state. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the factor structure and select psychometric properties of the PRFQ in a sample of Canadian parents. Methods: We examined the factor structure and discriminant and construct validity of the PRFQ-18 among 306 parents (males=120 and females=186) across Canada; the age range of children was 0 to 12 years. Parents also completed Web-based measures of perceived stress, parental coping, parenting competence, and social support. Results: A confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the hypothesized 3-factor structure of the PRFQ-18 providing evidence that the PRFQ-18 may be a useful and practical measure of PRF in Canadian adults and showed minor revisions may improve the suitability of the PRFQ-18 for assessing PRF. Conclusions: These results add support for the construct validity of the PRFQ-18.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11561
JournalJMIR Pediatrics and Parenting
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan. 2019


  • Mentalization
  • Parent reflective functioning
  • Parenting
  • Questionnaire design


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