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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1994 Apr;15(2):78-85.

A prospective study of family environments of children hospitalized for nonorganic failure-to-thrive.

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Department of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.


Family functioning of nonorganic failure-to-thrive (NOFT) infants was compared with that of physically healthy, normally growing infants of similar socioeconomic status shortly after the time of the diagnosis of this condition (average age of 5 months) and again at 4 years of age. Families of NOFT infants demonstrated less adaptive relationships than did comparison-group infants, as measured by the Family Relationships Inventory (FRI) at both time points, but a comparable number of changes in residence and constellation on follow-up. Contrary to prediction, the quality of family relationships at point of diagnosis did not predict subsequent family relationships, residence, or constellation changes in the NOFT sample. However, more adaptive family relationships in the comparison group at study entry predicted fewer residence and constellation changes and more cohesive relationships 3 years later. The impact of significant discontinuities in family functioning and status should be considered in research and in clinical interventions with NOFT children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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