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Pediatrics. 1984 Mar;73(3):348-53.

Social and nonsocial home environments of infants with nonorganic failure-to-thrive.


Nonorganic failure-to-thrive (NOFT) is a clinical syndrome that is poorly understood and inadequately studied. Because empirical data are lacking, an attempt was made to identify differentiating aspects of the mother-infant interaction and environment of infants with NOFT compared with those of matched infants who grew normally. Prospectively, 23 infants who were suffering from NOFT were chosen in a referral clinic. Each infant was matched with a control subject with normal growth by age, sex, and race of the infant and family income, maternal education, and number of people living in the household. An assistant who was unaware of infant growth status visited the homes of these infants within 3 weeks of diagnosis and gathered: the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME); the Coddington Life Events Record; and the Index of Parent Attitude Scales. The total HOME Inventory and the subscales entitled Maternal Acceptance of the Child, Organization of the Physical Environment, and Emotional Responsivity were significantly less favorable (P less than .05) in the NOFT group. There were no group differences in the Life Events Record and the Parent Attitudes Scales. A discriminant function analysis correctly placed 32 of the 46 infants into failure-to-thrive and control groups. It is concluded that certain aspects of the home environments of infants with NOFT differ from those of infants of similar socioeconomic status who grow normally.

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