Childhood Feeding Difficulties: A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Group Parenting Intervention.

Michelle Adamson (2011). Childhood Feeding Difficulties: A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Group Parenting Intervention. PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Michelle Adamson
Thesis Title Childhood Feeding Difficulties: A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Group Parenting Intervention.
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-05
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Alina Morawska
Prof. Matthew Sanders
Total pages 214
Total black and white pages 214
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract/Summary Difficulty with feeding is common during early childhood, as toddlers strive to acquire the requisite motor, self-regulatory and social skills to successfully feed, all whilst navigating the tumultuous toddler years. Behavioural techniques have shown considerable utility for difficult feeding, though larger scale studies of behavioural parenting interventions with typically developing young children, and particularly in group formats, are limited. The current program of research aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a group-based, behavioural family intervention for feeding issues, and inform other foci for intervention via an examination of the psychosocial factors that co-occur with difficult feeding. Three studies were conducted. Study 1 involved the development and validation of the Parent and Toddler Feeding Assessment (PATFA), a parent-report questionnaire constructed to assess childhood feeding difficulties and associated parenting constructs including parenting strategies, cognitions and confidence at mealtimes. In Study 2, children and families with (n = 96) and without (n = 105) feeding difficulties were compared on the PATFA and measures of other factors including disruptive child behaviour, general parenting style, parenting confidence, conflict over parenting, marital satisfaction, parental distress and the parent-child bond, as well as observed mealtime interactions. Study 3 comprised a randomised controlled trial of Fuss Free Mealtimes Triple P, a behavioural family group intervention for parents of difficult-to-feed toddlers. The 8-week parenting program was tested with 96 parents of children aged 15-60 months in regional and metropolitan Queensland (Australia). The three studies presented contribute to the literature in a number of ways. Firstly, the development of a reliable and valid tool for measuring childhood feeding difficulties and relevant parenting constructs answers calls in the literature for established tools that are relevant for difficult-to-feed younger children (vs. childhood obesity), and cover multiple dimensions in sufficient depth. Such a tool has both clinical and research applications in the iii assessment of feeding concerns and contributing parental factors, including in the emerging area of parental cognitions. Study 2 provides empirical information on the role of parenting and other variables in childhood feeding issues. Specifically, parents of children with feeding issues reported less adaptive mealtime strategies, parental cognitions, and less confidence about parenting at mealtimes and generally. This provides a strong rationale for behavioural family interventions in this context. Higher scores of parental depression were noted in the feeding difficulties group, though no differences were found on measures of marital satisfaction or conflict over parenting. Finally, results from Study 3 support the utility of a group-based behavioural parenting program for childhood feeding issues. Significant improvements were noted to feeding and general child behaviour, as well as mealtime and general parenting practices, confidence and cognitions, compared to a waitlist control. Gains were largely maintained at 6 month follow-up. Parents were also highly satisfied with the program. Such findings confirm the utility of behavioural interventions, and particularly parenting programs, for childhood feeding difficulties. The results extend the literature in providing evidence for group delivery of parenting programs for children with feeding issues, including via the use of observational and more extended outcome measures. Additional implications of the research and future directions are discussed.
Keyword Child
Parental cognitions
Behaviour Therapy

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Created: Thu, 29 Sep 2011, 16:29:37 EST by Ms Michelle Adamson on behalf of Library - Information Access Service