The Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire

Title of the Portuguese Version

Questionário de Funcionamento Reflexivo Parental

Original Version

Patrick Luyten, Linda C. Mayes, Liesbet Nijssens & Peter Fonagy (2017)

Portuguese Version

Helena Moreira & Ana Fonseca (2022)

General Description

The Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire is a multidimensional self-report measure consisting of 18 items scored on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Items 11 and 18 are reverse coded, and the subscale scores are the means of the items. The instrument includes three subscales: (a) Pre-Mentalizing Modes of Mental States (PM), with higher scores indicating greater difficulty with understanding and interpreting a child’s mental experience (e.g., “My son cries in front of strangers to embarrass me”); (b) Certainty about Mental States (CMS), with higher scores reflecting more certainty about what a child is thinking, feeling, or intends to do (e.g., “I always know why my child behaves the way he does”); and (c) Interest and Curiosity in Mental States (IC), with higher scores reflecting a higher level of parents’ interest in their children’s inner experiences (e.g., “I like to think of the reasons behind the way my child feels and behaves”). Optimal parental reflective functioning levels are expressed by higher scores on the IC and CMS subscales and by lower scores on the PM subscale.

  • Luyten, P., et al (2017). The Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire: Development and preliminary validation. PLoS ONE 12(5):e0176218

  • Moreira, H. & Fonseca, A. (2022). Measuring parental reflective functioning: Further validation of the Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire in Portuguese mothers of infants and young children. Child Psychiatry & Human Development. Doi: 10.1007/s10578-021-01288-2


Helena Moreira –