Skip to main content

Parental reflective functioning (PRF) is explained as “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.” PRF has a significant effect on child development, and is directly linked to child attachment security, social competence, as well as social and emotional growth. A psychometric evaluation is defined as a scientific test to assess a person’s personality attributes and cognitive capabilities. The Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (PRFQ) was developed to provide an efficient way to measure a parent’s capacity to recognize their child’s mental states and to understand the relationship between underlying mental states and behavior. It is an 18-item questionnaire consisting of three subscales that “asks participants to rate a series of statements relevant to their child that assess curiosity surrounding mental states, efforts to understand mental states and how they relate to behavior, and refusal to acknowledge mental states and their influence on behavior.” Each item on the PRFQ, which is provided below, is rated on a 7-point Likert-type scale where “1” represents “strongly disagree” and “7” represents “strongly agree.” 

  1. The only time I’m certain my child loves me is when he or she is smiling at me.
  2. I always know what my child wants.
  3. I like to think about the reasons behind the way my child behaves and feels.
  4. My child cries around strangers to embarrass me.
  5. I can completely read my child’s mind.
  6. I wonder a lot about what my child is thinking and feeling.
  7. I find it hard to actively participate in make believe play with my child.
  8. I can always predict what my child will do.
  9. I am often curious to find out how my child feels.
  10. My child sometimes gets sick to keep me from doing what I want to do.
  11. I can sometimes misunderstand the reactions of my child.
  12. I try to see situations through the eyes of my child.
  13. When my child is fussy, he or she does that just to annoy me.
  14. I always know why I do what I do to my child.
  15. I try to understand the reasons why my child misbehaves.
  16. Often, my child’s behavior is too confusing to bother figuring out.
  17. I always know why my child acts the way he or she does.
  18. I believe there is no point in trying to guess what my child feels.

Prior to the development of the PRFQ, the measurement of PRF typically included interview methods, such as the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), the Parental Development Interview (PDI), and the Working Model of Child Interview (WMCI), which are known to be relatively time-consuming, costly, and impractical to be used in large samples. Consequently, the parent self-report questionnaire to assess PRF known as the Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire was developed by Luyten et al. (2017) in Belgium and the United Kingdom, which is easy to administer to parents with a wide range of socioeconomic and educational backgrounds.

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

Leave a Reply

Back to top