Caregiver Impressions of Clinical Effectiveness of an Intensive Behavioral Feeding Program

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Abstract

Intensive outpatient behavioral feeding programs are frequently used in the treatment of severe feeding disorders to decrease negative mealtime behaviors of affected children and improve caregiver-child mealtime interactions. Yet, there are few descriptions of these clinical practices and their clinical effectiveness. The purpose of this study is to describe an intensive outpatient feeding treatment protocol and to evaluate the clinical outcomes of the program. This study utilizes prepost treatment design studying patients completing a 5-day intensive outpatient parent training protocol. This study utilized caregiver completed measures including the Mealtime Behavior Questionnaire; the About Your Child’s Eating Questionnaire; the Feeding Strategies Questionnaire; and the Parent Stress Index. Findings showed pre-to-post improvements of interactions between caregivers and children within a mealtime context, decreased problematic mealtime behaviors, and improved caregiver use of effective mealtime strategies. Decreases in caregiver distress and caregiver perceptions of their child as “difficult” were also found. These findings support the use of intensive outpatient treatment programs to help caregivers learn to use effective strategies that facilitate appropriate interactions between themselves and their children within a feeding context.

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