Examining Short-term Stability of the Mealtime Interaction Coding System (MICS)

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ObjectiveThis study assessed the stability of ratings on the McMaster Mealtime Interaction Coding System (MICS), an observational measure of family functioning, across three typical evening meals.MethodsParticipants included families of infants and toddlers with cystic fibrosis (n=33) and with no chronic illness (n=33). Three meals were videotaped across a 3-week period (M=17.4 days) and involved a secondary data analysis from a larger study.ResultsAcross both groups, test–retest reliability (paired correlation coefficients) was generally moderate, but significant, for all scales at each time point comparison. Analyses revealed no significant within-or between-group differences across time periods on healthy versus unhealthy ratings.ConclusionsThis study highlights the limitations of coding a single mealtime observation or interpreting multiple observations using the MICS. Findings highlight that family, meal, illness, and assessment factors may impact variability in ratings over time.

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