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Title: The development of a Dyadic Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (DRFQ)
Author: Younger, David Batkin
ISNI:       0000 0001 3575 8805
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis describes the construction of an attachment and psychoanalytic theory inspired self-report measure to assess the quality of mutual awareness of mental states in couples (dyadic reflective function). The Dyadic Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (DRFQ) has its theoretical foundation in the Reflective Functioning Coding Manual developed by Fonagy and his colleagues (1997). The DRFQ was constructed to assess the ability to think about oneself and one's partner in situations of discord that involve the triggering of the attachment system. The measure includes testing first, second and third order theory of mind in relation to both epistemic and emotional mind states in relation to one's partner in the context of a heated argument. Several indicators of accuracy of mind-reading were developed based on the strength of association between self-report of one member of the dyad and the estimation of the other member controlling for self-report of that member. Second order theory of mind was assessed by asking subjects to anticipate what their partner was likely to have reported about them. Third order theory of mind was estimated asking participants to estimate their partners' estimations of their estimations of their partners. The first study reported employed 20 heterosexual couples and demonstrated that as predicted an inverse relationship existed between the quality of dyadic reflective functioning on the DRFQ and attachment style anxiety and avoidance on the revised Experiences in Close Relationships Questionnaire (Fraley, Brennan, & Waller, 2000). Following the pilot study, test-retest reliability of the instrument was assessed with a further random sample of 20 couples. The validation of the measure was undertaken with participant couples drawn from the general population and a sub-sample of couples that were undergoing psychodynamic couple therapy. Following the pilot study, and a refinement of the measure, a larger study was conducted (n=96 couples). The DRFQ was administered alongside a battery of self-report measures to assess both discriminant and concurrent validity. Results demonstrated strong negative correlations between dyadic reflective functioning scores and interpersonal problems on the Inventory-Circumplex (Alden, Wiggins, & Pincus, 1990) and the general severity index (GSI) of the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) (Derogatis & Melisaratos, 1983). Predictive validity of the instrument was assessed in a further investigation using the DRFQ to predict the quality of the couple's relationship as reflected by the Abbreviated Dyadic Adjustment Scale (ADAS) (Sharpley & Rogers, 1984) one year after the administration of the reflective functioning instrument. A final qualitative study with a small sample of couples (n=5) that were in therapy was also conducted in order to explore more in-depth connections between high and low scores in dyadic reflective functioning using the DRFQ and the experience of couple fit and functioning. It is hoped that an exploration of the processes of reflective functioning in couples will lead to further understanding of attachment processes in couples and to more clarity of focus in assessing process and outcome in couple therapy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available