An exploration of factors potentially associated with the development of childhood feeding disorders
Description Psychology ARFID, family meals, feeding disorders, parental attitudes, parental behaviors Degree Awarded: M.A. Psychology. American University Researchers have struggled to define and classify childhood feeding disorders. Literature is limited in its examination of the prevalence, etiology, and symptomology of feeding disorders. The purpose of the current study was to explore factors related to parent and family attitudes, behaviors, and practices that may be associated with the development of a childhood feeding disorder. The current study examined the following three categories of factors: extreme parental attitudes and rules regarding meal and feeding time for children, the lack of regular family meals, and parents’ personal eating attitudes and behaviors. Additionally, the current study explored whether the presence of a feeding disorder during childhood was associated with the later development of an eating disorder during adolescence/adulthood. The sample consisted of 143 mothers and fathers whose children had either clinically significant feeding disorders, or little to no history of food refusal. The data was archival and was based on the parents’ completion of a structured diagnostic interview followed by a series of self-report questionnaires. Findings from the current study suggest that the categories of factors examined are not significantly associated with the development of a childhood feeding disorder. Further, childhood feeding disorders do not seem to be associated with the development of an eating disorder later in life. The results of the current study should be reexamined once a universal diagnostic system for feeding disorders is agreed upon by professionals in the field. Future studies should focus on examining which classification system best represents feeding disorders and exploring the more basic principles of childhood feeding disorders such as prevalence, sociodemographic influencers, and comorbidity rates.
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