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Title: Family environmental influences on food avoidant eating behaviour during early childhood : a longitudinal and observational study
Author: Powell, Faye
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2013
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A prospective, longitudinal and observational study, using a non-clinical population of mother-child dyads was conducted to evaluate the contribution of family-environmental factors in predicting child food avoidance and feeding problems across early childhood. The contribution of maternal feeding practices, mealtime structure and interactional behaviour during mealtimes, were explored in predicting child food avoidance between 2 and 5 years, whilst also evaluating the role of maternal psychopathology and child temperament. This thesis also assessed the validity of maternal reports of child eating behaviour and feeding practices by obtaining independent observations of these constructs, and explored the longitudinal stability and continuity of both independent observations and maternal reports of child eating behaviour and maternal feeding practices. Concurrently and prospectively, observations of mothers eating with their child, displaying high sensitivity, low control, and more positive emotion and verbalisation during mealtimes predicted less avoidant child eating behaviour. Reports of mothers providing a healthy food-related home environment, encouraging balanced food intake, and involving their child in food planning, in addition to a less emotional child temperament, were also significant longitudinal predictors of less avoidant child eating behaviour. Maternal descriptions of their child s eating behaviour were validated by independent observations; however maternal descriptions of their own feeding practices were not. Child eating behaviour and maternal feeding practices were predominantly stable and continuous across early childhood, with the exception of child difficulty to feed and maternal pressure to eat which decreased between the ages of 3 and 4. This thesis demonstrates many interesting and novel findings but primarily through the utilisation of observational and longitudinal data it demonstrates the important causal contribution of family-environmental factors in the development of food avoidant eating behaviours during early childhood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Food avoidance ; Feeding problems ; Children ; Feeding practices ; Mealtime structure ; Temperament ; Psychopathology ; Longitudinal