The Pediatric Eating Assessment Tool: Factor Structure and Psychometric Properties

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Objectives:The Pediatric Eating Assessment Tool (PediEAT) is a parent-report instrument developed to assess symptoms of feeding problems in children aged 6 months to 7 years. The purpose of this study was to identify the factor structure of the PediEAT and test its psychometric properties, including internal consistency reliability, temporal stability, and construct validity.Methods:Participants included 567 parents of children aged 6 months to 7 years. Fifty-four percent of the sample had parent report of a diagnosed feeding problem or feeding concerns. Exploratory factor-analysis techniques were used to remove redundant or non-endorsed items and identify the factor structure of the instrument. Construct validity was examined with 466 parents completing the Mealtime Behavior Questionnaire as a criterion standard. Known-groups validation was used to compare PediEAT scores between children with and without diagnosed feeding problems. Temporal stability of the PediEAT was examined with 97 parents repeating the PediEAT after 2 weeks.Results:Principal components factor analysis with varimax rotation supported a 4-factor model accounting for 39.4% of the total variance. The 4 subscales (Physiologic Symptoms, Problematic Mealtime Behaviors, Selective/Restrictive Eating, Oral Processing) demonstrated acceptable internal consistencies (coefficient alphas: 0.92, 0.91, 0.83, 0.83; respectively). Construct validity was supported in 2 ways. The PediEAT correlated with the Mealtime Behavior Questionnaire (r = 0.77, P < 0.001) and total score and subscale scores were significantly different between children with and without diagnosed feeding problem (P < 0.001). Temporal stability was demonstrated through test-retest reliability (r = 0.95, P < 0.001).Conclusions:Strong psychometric properties support the use of the PediEAT in research and clinical practice.

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