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Behav Modif. 2010 Jan;34(1):35-56. doi: 10.1177/0145445509355646.

Descriptive analyses of pediatric food refusal: the structure of parental attention.

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  • 1University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.


Mealtime observations were conducted and occurrences of appropriate and inappropriate mealtime behavior and various forms of parental attention (e.g., coaxing, reprimands) were recorded for 25 children admitted to an intensive feeding program and their parents. Using the data from the observations, lag sequential analyses were conducted to identify changes in the probability of child appropriate and inappropriate mealtime behavior before and after various forms of parental attention. A combination of univariate and repeated measures ANOVAs using frequency of child behavior were also conducted to corroborate conclusions drawn from the visual analysis of individual participant data. Results showed that parental attention was frequently followed by temporary decreases in inappropriate mealtime behavior and increases in bite acceptance. Moreover, various forms of parental attention resulted in statistically significant changes in child behavior, which supports the clinical utility of these data.

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