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Younger, D. (2007). III. Dimensions and New Measures Relevant to Psychoanalysis: Development of the Dyadic Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (DRFQ). J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 55:318-323.

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(2007). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 55(1):318-323

III. Dimensions and New Measures Relevant to Psychoanalysis: Development of the Dyadic Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (DRFQ)

David Younger

The principal aim of this project is to create a measure to assess dyadic reflective function in couple relationships—the ability to put oneself into one's partner's shoes—and to explore whether different degrees of theory of mind are related to, and are predictive of, attachment style security and relationship satisfaction.


Reflective function, according to Fonagy and Target (1997), is a product of development whereby the child not only learns to respond to other people's actions, but to how he or she conceives of them. The notion of reflective function has its foundation in Freud's concept of bindung, or linking, and in Dennett's thesis (1978, 1987) on predicting behavior. Reflective function is an inherently interpersonal process whereby an individual organizes his or her internal world according to the behavior and assumed mental states of others.

It has been demonstrated that the attachment system (Bowlby 1969, 1973, 1980) is directly connected to the capacity for reflective function and development of the self. Secure attachment allows for the freedom and security to develop the ability to think about what the other is going to do. Disorganized attachment, possibly as a result of trauma, directly affects the development of reflective function.

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