Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2005

Journal or Book Title

International Journal of Eating Disorders

Volume

38

Issue

3

Abstract

Objective

To incorporate selected items from several existing instruments to create a comprehensive multi-factorial instrument to measure problematic eating behaviors in young children and to examine the prevalences and correlates of these behaviors.

Method

A community sample of young mothers (n = 93) completed the inventory of problematic eating behaviors for their 36-month old children.

Results

The most common child problems reported by mothers were the spitting out of food during feedings and becoming upset when food was restricted. A four-factor solution identified Pickiness (e.g., child eats a limited variety of food), Food Refusal (e.g., child refuses to eat specific foods), Struggle for Control (e.g., frequent struggles with child over food), and Positive Parental Behavior (e.g., praising child about their food intake) domains. Internal consistency was moderate to good for all factors. Only the Struggle for Control factor was related with other problematic behaviors as measured by the CBCL. The Food Refusal factor was related to mothers’ lifetime history of any psychopathology. The Pickiness factor was related to mothers’ lifetime history of alcohol dependence.

Conclusions

Findings suggest that child clinicians be sensitive to the quality of mother-child interactions during feeding.

Keywords: problematic eating behaviors, childhood psychopathology, prevalence

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