Title

Associations between autism symptom severity and mealtime behaviors in young children presented with an unfamiliar food.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2020

Identifier

DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2020.103676; PMCID: PMC7354217 (available on 2021-08-01)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Feeding problems are common in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and there are associations between parent reports of child ASD symptom severity and feeding problems. The current study further explores this association between ASD severity and family mealtime behaviors using directly observed naturalistic mealtime interactions.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Seventy-three children (M

Background: Feeding problems are common in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and there are associations between parent reports of child ASD symptom severity and feeding problems. The current study further explores this association between ASD severity and family mealtime behaviors using directly observed naturalistic mealtime interactions.

Methods and procedures: Seventy-three children (Mage = 5.42 years) were presented an unfamiliar food during a videotaped but otherwise typical home meal. Mealtime behavior was assessed through coding of the videotaped meal using the Dyadic Interaction Nomenclature for Eating (DINE) and parent report (Brief ASD Mealtime Behavior Inventory; BAMBI). ASD severity was assessed with the clinician-completed Childhood Autism Rating Scale-Second Edition (CARS-2).

Outcomes and results: Greater ASD severity was associated with fewer bites of the unfamiliar food, greater disruptive behavior during meals, and greater parental commands to take bites during meals. We found negative associations between limited food variety and food refusal (BAMBI subscales) and child bites of the unfamiliar food, with higher levels of limited food variety and food refusal associated with fewer bites of the unfamiliar food.

Conclusions and implications: Children with more severe ASD may eat less and be more disruptive during meals, despite parent redirection. We also found associations between the BAMBI and DINE which suggest the BAMBI may be a sensitive measure of mealtime behaviors such as food flexibility and food refusal.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Children with more severe ASD may eat less and be more disruptive during meals, despite parent redirection. We also found associations between the BAMBI and DINE which suggest the BAMBI may be a sensitive measure of mealtime behaviors such as food flexibility and food refusal.

Journal Title

Research in developmental disabilities

Volume

103

First Page

103676

Last Page

103676

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder; Feeding; Mealtime behavior

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