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Mentalization in children and mothers in the context of trauma: An initial study of the validity of the Child Reflective Functioning Scale

Ensink, K; Normandin, L; Target, M; Fonagy, P; Sabourin, S; Berthelot, N; (2014) Mentalization in children and mothers in the context of trauma: An initial study of the validity of the Child Reflective Functioning Scale. British Journal of Developmental Psychology , 33 (2) 10.1111/bjdp.12074. Green open access

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Abstract

This study examined the validity of the Child Reflective Functioning Scale (CRFS: Ensink, Target, & Oandason, 2013), a measure designed to assess reflective functioning (RF) or mentalization during middle childhood. Participants were 94 mother–child dyads divided into two subgroups; 46 dyads where children had histories of intrafamilial (n = 22 dyads) or extrafamilial (n = 24 dyads) sexual abuse, and a community control group composed of 48 mother–child dyads. RF of children and their mothers were assessed using videotaped and transcribed data gathered using the Child Attachment Interview and the Parent Development Interview (PDI: Slade, Aber, Bresi, Berger, & Kaplan, 2004). The findings indicate that the CRFS proved reliable, with excellent intraclass correlation coefficients for general RF, as well as RF regarding self and others. Significant differences in reflective functioning were found between sexually abused children and the control group, and also between children who had experienced intrafamilial and extrafamilial sexual abuse. This provides support for the discriminant validity of the CRFS. Furthermore, maternal RF was associated with child RF. Both abuse and maternal RF made significant contributions to predicting children’s RF regarding themselves, but child sexual abuse was the only variable that made a significant contribution to explaining variance in children’s RF regarding others.

Type: Article
Title: Mentalization in children and mothers in the context of trauma: An initial study of the validity of the Child Reflective Functioning Scale
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/bjdp.12074
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjdp.12074
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
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/1455016
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