Validation of the Reflective Functioning Five-Minute Speech Sample (RF-FMSS)
Parental Reflective Functioning (PRF) is an attachment related construct that refers to the parent’s ability to accurately interpret and respond to their infant’s internal emotional and biological states (Fonagy, 2009). Presently, the only well-established measure of PRF, the Reflective Functioning Scale, is scored using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) or the Parental Development Interview (PDI). These measures provide clinically rich data that is not available with questionnaires. This new PRF measure, the Five-Minute Speech Sample Coded for Reflective Functioning (FMSS-RF), was developed as part of the Family Minds intervention– an intervention designed to increase the reflective functioning of foster parents. It was based on the Five-Minute Speech Sample procedure (Gottschalk & Gleser, 1969), used to measure psychological states using content analysis of verbal behavior. It is a 5-minute recorded monologue in which the respondent is asked to speak about a topic for the entire five minutes, without verbal prompts from the interviewer.
Family Minds: An Attachment-based Mentalizing Psycho-Educational Intervention for Foster and Adoptive Parents
Mentalization, or reflective functioning, develops within the context of a secure attachment relationship and involves the ability to understand behavior in relation to mental states such as thoughts and feelings. It is the skill of being able to see yourself from the outside and your children from the inside, and is an essential component of being a sensitive, therapeutic foster or adoptive parent. Improving mentalizing skills can be very beneficial for foster parents, as they frequently deal with children who come into their home with challenging behaviors, attachment issues and negative internal working models of relationships. This psycho-educational training intervention was developed specifically for foster and adoptive parents and was designed to be short-term and practical.
- Adkins. T., Reisz, S., Hasdemir, D. & Fonagy, P. (under review). Family Minds: A randomized controlled trial of a group intervention to improve foster parents’ reflective functioning.
- Adkins, T., Reisz, S., Doerge, K., & Nulu, S. (2020). Adverse Childhood Experience histories in foster parents: Connections to foster children’s emotional and behavioral difficulties. Child Abuse & Neglect, 104, 104475.
- Adkins. T., Fonagy, P. & Luyten, P. (2018). Development and preliminary evaluation of Family Minds: A mentalization-based psychoeducation program for foster parents. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 27(8), 2519-2532.
- Bammens, A-S., Adkins, T., and Badger, J. (2015). Psycho-educational intervention increases reflective functioning in foster and adoptive parents. Adoption and Fostering, 39, 38-50.