The ability to mentalize, namely to understand, interpret and effectively communicate the mental state of self and others is considered important in self-organisation and affect regulation. The aim of the present study was to provide data on the validation process of Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (RFQ), a recently developed measure of mentalizing, in order to evaluate its use in research and in clinical practice for Greek populations. A total of 219 participants (102 people with type 1 diabetes and 117 healthy individuals) completed the RFQ. A principal component analysis supported the 2-factor model (RF certainty for mental states and RF uncertainty for mental states) in both samples. Internal consistencies of both subscales were satisfactory (α=0.80 for RF certainty and α=0.79 for RF uncertainty). Relationships with validity measures of psychological distress, empathy and emotional intelligence provided further support for the psychometric properties of the scale. As expected, there were positive associations between the degree of certainty concerning mental states and emotional intelligence (r=0.390, p<0.01), as well as empathy (r=0.292, p<0.01) in general population. Conversely, negative associations were found between the degree of certainty about mental states and psychological distress in the diabetes group (r=–0.470, p<0.01) and in general population (r=0.320, p<0.01). A reverse pattern of associations was observed between the degree of uncertainty about mental states and emotional intelligence (r=–0.265, p<0.01) in general population, as well as psychological distress in both the diabetes group (r=0.590, p<0.01) and in general population (r=0.330, p<0.01). Also, as expected, there were differences across age groups, with older participants reporting a more balanced reflective functioning - with higher certainty levels in the diabetes group (t=–2.133, p>0.05) and the healthy participants (t=–2.738, p>0.05) and lower uncertainty levels in the diabetes group (t=–2.480, p>0.05) and the healthy participants (t=–2.779, p>0.05). The data collected so far support the reliability and validity of the measure that can be used in research to address mentalizing impairments. However, further research is needed to evaluate its consistency thought time with a test-retest analysis, and to evidence its factorial structure with a confirmatory factor analysis. In addition, it is of primary importance to extend the validity testing of RFQ in clinical populations to further support its use in clinical practice.
Key words: Reflective functioning questionnaire, factor structure, psychometric properties, validity, reliability.
F. Griva, V. Pomini, R. Gournellis, G. Doumos, P. Thomakos, G. Vaslamatzis (page 216)