Feeding disorders of infancy: A longitudinal study to middle childhood


  • Supported by “Sapienza” University of Rome.



To evaluate over time feeding behavior and emotional–behavioral functioning in a sample of children diagnosed with Infantile Anorexia (IA) and a group of typically developing children; and to investigate the relationship between maternal psychological functioning and the children's feeding patterns and emotional-behavioral functioning.


Seventy-two children diagnosed with IA and 70 children in the control group were prospectively evaluated through several measures at two, five, and eight years of age.


Our findings revealed partial improvement in the nutritional status of the children with IA. However, they continued to show ongoing eating problems and, in addition, anxiety/depression and withdrawal, as well as rule-breaking behaviors and social problems. There were significant correlations between the children's eating problems and their emotional difficulties and their mothers' increased emotional distress and disturbed eating attitudes.


Our longitudinal study points out that the natural course of untreated IA is characterized by the persistence of difficulties in eating behavior and emotional–behavioral adjustment in both, the children and their mothers. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)