Parental reflective functioning (PRF) is the capacity to focus on experience and feelings in oneself and in the child. Individual differences in PRF reportedly affect child attachment and socioemotional development. In this study, we report work on developing a questionnaire to assess PRF during pregnancy (Prenatal Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire; P-PRFQ). The factor structure of the 33-item version of the P-PRFQ was explored using pilot study data from the Finn Brain Birth Cohort Study (n = 124 mothers, n = 82 fathers). Construct validity was assessed against the Pregnancy Interview (PI; A. Slade, L. Grunebaum, L. Huganir, & M. Reeves, 1987, 2002, 2011) in a subsample of 29 mothers from the same pilot sample. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis resulted in a 14-item P-PRFQ, with three factors which seem to capture relevant aspects of prenatal parental mentalization-F1: "Opacity of mental states," F2: "Reflecting on the fetus-child," and F3: "The dynamic nature of the mental states." Functioning of the factor structure was further tested in the large cohort with 600 mothers and 600 fathers. Correlations with the PI result were high, both regarding total and factor scores of the P-PRFQ. Cost-effective tools to assess key areas of early parenting are needed for both research and clinical purposes. The 14-item P-PRFQ seems to be an applicable and promising new tool for assessing very early parental mentalizing capacity.
- parental mentalization
- parental reflective functioning
- questionnaire measure