Development and criterion validity of a computerized text analysis measure of reflective functioning

Eric A. Fertuck, Erhard Mergenthaler, Mary Target, Kenneth N. Levy, John F. Clarkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The Reflective Functioning scale (RF) is a narrative-based assessment of the capacity to coherently conceptualize one's own and others' subjective motivations, emotions, beliefs, and desires. We report the preliminary results of an effort to develop a computerized text analysis version (CRF) of the RF assessment system. A sample of 113 clinical and non-clinical Adult Attachment Interviews (AAI) were utilized to develop the CRF measure. Using the Marker Approach (Mergenthaler & Bucci, 1999), 54 linguistic markers of high RF language were identified. The associations between CRF and RF were significant in both a clinical sample of patients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (Spearman rho=.57, p<.0001) and a non-clinical sample of adults (Spearman rho=.57, p=.002). These results suggest that a CRF rating scale is feasible, has preliminary criterion validity, and, therefore, has potential to facilitate the efficient assessment of RF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-305
Number of pages8
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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