Background: Reflective Functioning (RF) is considered to play a central role in
risk and resilience for psychological difficulties such as borderline personality disorder
(BPD) and has become an important treatment target of transdiagnostic psychosocial
interventions like Mentalization Based Therapy. However, a lack of measures to assess RF in
adolescents has hampered research that can further elucidate the role of RF in different types
Objective: The objective of the present study was to examine the validity of the Reflective
Functioning Questionnaire for Youth (RFQ-Y), examine the factor structure of the french
RFQ-Y, the relationship between RFQ-Y and social cognition, psychological difficulties,
BPD and narcissistic personality disorders.
Method: A total of 533 adolescents and young adults (age 12 - 21) from the community
completed the RFQ-Y, the Child Behaviour Checklist, the Borderline Personality Features
Scale and the Pathological Narcissism Inventory. A subsample of 150 participants completed
the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC).
Results: Three factors were identified. Uncertainty/confusion was strongly positively
correlated with psychological difficulties, especially symptoms of borderline personality
disorder. Interest/curiosity was negatively correlated with psychopathology and Excessive
Certainty was positively correlated with grandiose narcissism. RFQ-Y factors correlated
more strongly with psychopathology than the MASC scales.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the validity of self-report measures like the RFQ-Y
and its utility for identifying problematic styles of mentalizing associated with increased risk
of psychopathology in general, as well as difficulties like narcissism in particular.