Connor Lynch, “Analyzing Parent-Child Feeding Through Child Behavior and Feeding Relationship Disturbance”
Mentor: W. Hobart Davies, Psychology
Feeding relationship disturbance can stem from the parent’s and child’s attitude toward mealtime as well as the environment surrounding the mealtime. In the parent-child feeding relationship, feeding relationship disturbance may be related to the child’s problematic behavior, including internalizing symptoms (ex: feels hopeless), externalizing symptoms (ex: fights with other children), and attention problems (ex: has trouble concentrating). Studies suggested that children with feeding relationship disturbance and are more likely to experience behavior dysregulation (Winsper & Welke, 2014; Dovey et al., 2019). While previous research has investigated the relationship between feeding relationship disturbance and child behavior among preschool age children, this relationship has not yet been studied among school age children. The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship between parent-feeding child-feeding relationship and child behavior among school age children. It is hypothesized that an increase disruption to the parent-child feeding relationship will be correlated with an increase in child problem behavior. A community sample of caregivers, recruited by students in an advanced psychology course, completed an online survey including the About Your Child’s Eating (AYCE) inventory and Pediatric System Checklist (PSC-17), as part of a larger online survey. The AYCE measures feeding relationship disturbance as child resistance to eating, positive mealtime environment, and parent aversion to mealtime. The PSC-7 measures the child’s behavior through the constructs of internalizing, attention, and externalizing. Pearson correlations were conducted to analyze the relationship between AYCE measures and child problem behaviors. The study resulted in significant correlations across internalizing systems and parent aversion to mealtime (r(159) = 0.299, p = 0.001) and externalizing and parent aversion to mealtime (r(158) = 0.413, p = 0.001) among others showing a relationship between feeding relationship disturbance and child problem behavior. These findings argue that psychologists should evaluate child behavior when treating feeding relationship disturbance.
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