Child and Maternal Correlates of Picky Eating in Young Children

Ada H. Zohar, Lilac Lev-Ari, Rachel Bachner-Melman
2019 Psychology  
Picky eating (PE) is common in childhood but if it persists may pose a serious risk factor for restricting eating disorders. Methods: A community sample of 1055 mothers of children (mean age 3.4 + 1) was reported online on gestational history, early feeding [breastfeeding vs. formula], behavioral problems [CBCL], temperament [EAS], fears [FIYC], executive function [P-BRIEF], and self-reported on maternal perfectionism, anxiety, and on maternal attachment patterns. Results: 17.5% of the children
more » ... .5% of the children were PE with an over-representation of first-borns (Chi-square = 28.1, p < 0.001). In temperament, PEs were shyer, more emotional and fearful than non-PEs, and higher on the CBCL-PDD, Affective, Anxiety, ADHD, and Oppositional, and lower in executive function. PEs' mothers were more perfectionistic and anxious and scored higher on avoidant and anxious attachment. Logistic regression identified 26.7% of the PEs with the CBCL Affective providing most of the explained variance. Conclusions: At the age of three, PE is associated with a wide range of behavioral problems and with poorly developed executive function. Maternal anxiety and perfectionism may contribute to PE at this developmental stage. Reassuring anxious and perfectionistic mothers may contribute to dealing effectively with PE.
doi:10.4236/psych.2019.109080 fatcat:vawnpsdkajd7xj2ek5swxrjd3q