Feeding disordered children : the impact on family systems from parents' perspectives

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Gordon, Cheryl J.
Adams, Rebecca A.
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Thesis (M.S.)
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
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Feeding disorders are common in disabled children, and family reactions are critical factors influencing the severity and course of this problem. This study hypothesized that feeding disorders in disabled children would be significantly more stressful to parents than other childhood disabilities; that pediatric feeding disorders would be more stressful in single parent families than two parent families; and that childhood feeding disorders would be less stressful to fathers than to mothers.Two copies each of the Friedrich Questionnaire on Resources and Stress (QRS-F) and a demographic data survey were sent to 79 families of disabled children. Responses were received from 47 subjects representing 31 households. Analysis of Variance of the QRS-F scores indicated significantly greater stress levels in families of disabled children who received tube feedings, but not in families whose disabled children required special assistance with oral feeding. There was an inadequate number of responses from single parent families to statistically compare their stress levels to two parent families with feeding disordered children. The comparison of fathers and mothers of disabled children with feeding disorders did not yield a statistically significant difference in stress levels.The greater stress levels found in parents of disabled children who received tube feedings shows a need to provide improved education and training programs, as well as support after hospital discharge, to families with tube fed children.