Medical College of Wisconsin
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Reconceptualizing feeding and feeding disorders in interpersonal context: the case for a relational disorder. J Fam Psychol 2006 Sep;20(3):409-17



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-33748432699   86 Citations


The feeding of young children is fundamentally a relational and multisystemic process. Successful treatment of clinically significant feeding problems involves careful assessment of the full range of influences on the feeding relationship and integrated treatment approaches. However, current diagnostic approaches to feeding disorders tend to be reductionistic, exclusively focused on the child as an individual, and overly concerned with exclusionary criteria. Criteria are proposed for "Feeding Disorder Between Parent and Child" that address these limitations and embrace the complexity of feeding problems. A multiaxial diagnosis that describes the child (including medical, developmental, and behavioral characteristics); the parent; the parent-child relationship; and the social and nutritional context of feeding will more accurately speak to treatment planning in this population. The proposed diagnostic criteria were developed and refined on the basis of the available literature and many years of treatment experience across the authors of this article. The proposed diagnosis will support the development and evaluation of treatment packages with components specifically targeted to issues of the child, parent, parent-child interaction, and the broader environment.

Author List

Davies WH, Satter E, Berlin KS, Sato AF, Silverman AH, Fischer EA, Arvedson JC, Rudolph CD


Alan Silverman PhD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Child, Preschool
Feeding Behavior
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Interpersonal Relations
Mental Disorders
Parent-Child Relations