Children with eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGID) and their families are asked to adhere to dietary restrictions which can present significant daily challenges. However, little is known about child and family functioning and adaptation and the impact of psychosocial functioning (e.g., behavioral feeding problems) on adherence to dietary restrictions in this pediatric population.Methods:
We conducted a gender- and age-matched case–control study wherein parents of children with EGID and healthy control children completed measures of behavioral feeding problems, parenting stress, and adherence to prescribed dietary restrictions.Results:
Children with EGID (n = 92) have significantly higher levels of behavioral feeding problems than healthy controls (n = 89; t = 5.7, p < 0.001; t = 7.9, p < 0.001). In particular, younger children demonstrated higher levels of behavioral feeding problems than older children. While behavioral feeding problems were not predictive of adherence to dietary restriction recommendations, they were positively associated with parenting stress.Conclusions:
The study results indicate that, for families caring for a child with EGID, higher levels of behavioral feeding problems are associated with parent maladjustment or dysfunction. A multidisciplinary treatment team is needed to provide comprehensive psychosocial and feeding evaluations and treatment in EGID families.