Problematic eating and feeding behaviors of 36-month-old children




We incorporated selected items from several existing instruments to create a comprehensive multifactorial instrument to measure problematic eating behaviors in young children and to examine the prevalences and correlates of these behaviors.


A community sample of young mothers (N = 93) completed the inventory of problematic eating behaviors for their 36-month-old children.


The most common child problems reported by mothers were the spitting out of food during feedings and becoming upset when food was restricted. A four-factor solution identified pickiness (e.g., child eats a limited variety of food), food refusal (e.g., child refuses to eat specific foods), struggle for control (e.g., frequent struggles with child over food), and positive parental behavior (e.g., praising child about his/her food intake) domains. Internal consistency was moderate to good for all factors. Only the struggle for control factor was related to other problematic behaviors as measured by the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL). The food refusal factor was related to mothers' lifetime history of any psychopathology. The pickiness factor was related to mothers' lifetime history of alcohol dependence.


Findings suggest that child clinicians should be sensitive to the quality of mother-child interactions during feeding. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.