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Fertuck, E.A. Mergenthaler, E. Target, M. Clarkin, J.F. (2004). Abstracts of the Annual Poster Session of the American Psychoanalytic Association: Initial Validity of a Computerized Text Analysis Measure of Reflective Function. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 52(4):1215-1217.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Abstracts of the Annual Poster Session of the American Psychoanalytic Association: Initial Validity of a Computerized Text Analysis Measure of Reflective Function

(2004). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 52(4):1215-1217

Abstracts of the Annual Poster Session of the American Psychoanalytic Association: Initial Validity of a Computerized Text Analysis Measure of Reflective Function

Eric A. Fertuck, Erhard Mergenthaler, Mary Target and John F. ClarkinAuthor Information

At its January meetings earlier this year, the American Psycho-analytic Association held the second of its annual peer-reviewed poster sessions highlighting the many research studies being conducted by analytic investigators here and abroad.Linda Goodman, Linda Mayes, and I, as a subcommittee of the association's Committee on Scientific Activities, continue to serve as organizers of the sessions. The nineteen poster abstracts presented here reflect a new emphasis in our field on systematic empirical studies addressing a rich spectrum of research topics conceptually relevant to psychoanalytic theory, current clinical practice, and outcomes. Many of the posters are reports of new and ongoing investigations intended to draw the reader into dialogue with the investigators. As the poster sessions are designed to generate interest and discussion around these endeavors, readers are encouraged to e-mail or otherwise contact the posters' authors.

Stuart T. Hauser

Reflective Function (RF) is psychological capacity that “involves both a self-reflective and an interpersonal component that ideally provides the individual with a well-developed capacity to distinguish

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inner from outer reality, pretend from ‘real’ modes of functioning, intrapersonal mental and emotional processes from interpersonal communications” (Fonagy et al. 1997). We have previously presented a rationale and methodology for the development of a computerized text analysis version of the RF rating scale (CRF; see Fertuck et al. 2004). RF may be uniquely fostered in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapies as part of their mechanisms of therapeutic change. A central use of the CRF instrument is to efficiently and empirically assess whether psychoanalytically based treatments promote RF as a consequence of these therapeutic mechanisms.

Establishing the validity of any instrument is a process with distinct stages and aspects ((Messick 1995). With CRF we are at the earliest stages of establishing the criterion validity of the instrument. Criterion validity is greater the stronger the association of ratings on the instrument under development with one or more criterion measures. In the case of CRF, the first criterion is RRF, the original rater-judged RF measure. From a sample of 98 RRF-rated Adult Attachment Interviews (Main and Goldwyn 1991), an initial CRF measure was developed using the Marker Approach (Mergenthaler and Bucci 1999). First, half of these AAIs were randomly selected as the Dictionary Development Corpus. A CRF characteristic vocabulary made up of just 54 word markers was derived from this Dictionary Development Corpus (for a more detailed description of this procedure, see Fertuck et al. 2004). The CRF dictionary was then evaluated on the second half of AAIs or the Dictionary Validation Corpus. Since this second corpus was not used to develop the dictionary, it represents an initial test of the criterion validity of the instrument. In support of the initial criterion validity of the instrument, we found highly significant, positive correlations between CRF and RRF in the Dictionary Validation Corpus. The correlations were strongest in the nonclinical subsample (Spearman correlation = .63,p < .01).

As we continue to linguistically model RF speech, we plan to parse the AAI interview (from which RRF is rated) into smaller sections that will be individually rated for RRF, allowing for both within-subject and between-group analysis. Additionally, by comparing CRF to neighboring constructs, in both clinical and nonclinical samples, we plan to evaluate the convergent and divergent validity of this measure. Finally, we plan to investigate whether RF is best modeled as a unidimensional or a multidimensional construct.

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FERTUCK, E.A., TARGET, M., MERGENTHALER, E., & CLARKIN, J.F. (2004). Poster abstract: The development of a computerized linguistic analysis instrument of the reflective functioning measure. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn. 52:473-475. [→]

FONAGY, P., STEELE, M., STEELE, H., & TARGET, M. (1997). Reflective Functioning manual (version 4.1) for application to Adult Attachment Interviews. Unpublished manual, Psychoanalysis Unit, Sub-department of Clinical Health Psychology, University College London.

MAIN, M., & GOLDWYN, R. (1991). Adult Attachment Classification System: version 5. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Berkeley.

MERGENTHALER, E., & BUCCI, W. (1999). Linking verbal and nonverbal representations: Computer analysis of referential activity. Brit. J. Med. Psychol. 72: 339-354.

MESSICK, S. (1995). Validity of psychological assessment. American Psychologist 50: 741-749.

Research supported by the International Psychoanalytical Association and the Leslie Glass Foundation.

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Article Citation

Fertuck, E.A., Mergenthaler, E., Target, M. and Clarkin, J.F. (2004). Abstracts of the Annual Poster Session of the American Psychoanalytic Association. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 52(4):1215-1217

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