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Minerva Pediatr. 2003 Jun;55(3):243-53; 253-9.

Feeding disorders in infancy: an empirical study on mother-infant interactions.

[Article in English, Italian]

Author information

  • 1Faculty of Psychology 1, University "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy.



The objective of this paper is an empirical analysis of mother-infant feeding interactions through an observational instrument (Feeding Scale), which is applied to the videotape of a feeding session.


Three samples of mothers and their children have been examined (104 couples with children ranging in age from 2 to 36 months: a first group in which children presented a feeding disorder on organic and functional base (food intolerances and/or gastroesophageal reflux), a second group in which the disorder was not due to a medical condition and a third group of control. The Authors meant to test three hypotheses: 1) the presence of developmental changes in mother-infant interactional patterns during the course of the first three years of life; 2) higher degree of dysfunction of mother-infant interaction in those dyads in which the feeding disorder had not organic causes; 3) dysfunctional interactions in the couples of mothers and children in which the feeding disorder was on an organic base.


The results of the statistic analyses have confirmed the hypotheses, providing different elements of reflection.


The Authors underline the importance of a multidimensional, global and integrated approach in the clinical assessment and treatment, which evaluates the possible interconnections among organic, psychogenetic and relational factors in the origin and course of feeding disorders in infancy and early childhood.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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