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Costs of not getting to know you: Lower levels of parental reflective functioning confer risk for maternal insensitivity and insecure infant attachment

Ensink, K; Borelli, JL; Roy, J; Normandin, L; Slade, A; Fonagy, P; (2019) Costs of not getting to know you: Lower levels of parental reflective functioning confer risk for maternal insensitivity and insecure infant attachment. Infancy , 24 (2) pp. 210-227. 10.1111/infa.12263.

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Abstract

Parental reflective functioning (PRF) is a robust predictor of parenting sensitivity and secure infant attachment, but its assessment requires extensive resources, limiting its integration into research and clinical practice. The Mini‐Parent Reflective Functioning Interview (Mini‐PRFI) assesses the parent's capacity to mentalize for his/her 6‐month‐old infant (rated using the PRF coding system; Slade et al., 2004, PRF coding system and Slade REF, Unpublished protocol, New York, NY: The City University of New York). In the current study, we examined whether Mini‐PRFI scores were associated with theoretically related constructs; to establish a point of comparison, we evaluated links between Mini‐PRFI scores alongside RF assessed from the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). Mother–infant dyads (N = 88) completed the AAI before the birth of the infant, the Mini‐PRFI and an interaction task (rated for insensitive parental behavior) when infants were 6 months old, as well as the Strange Situation Procedure when infants were 16 months old. Mini‐PRFI scores were strongly positively associated with AAI RF and negatively associated with maternal insensitivity. Mini‐PRFI scores predicted infant attachment organization (secure/insecure, organized/disorganized) at 16 months, and this effect was mediated by parenting insensitivity. These findings suggest that the Mini‐PRFI predicts theoretically related attachment constructs, demonstrating the promise of the Mini‐PRFI to increase the accessibility of interview‐based PRF measurements to clinicians and researchers.

Type: Article
Title: Costs of not getting to know you: Lower levels of parental reflective functioning confer risk for maternal insensitivity and insecure infant attachment
DOI: 10.1111/infa.12263
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/infa.12263
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055193
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