Difficulty with feeding is common during early childhood. Behavioral techniques have shown considerable utility for difficult feeding, although large-scale studies of behavioral parenting interventions with typically developing young children, and in group formats, are limited.
The current study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a group-based, behavioral family intervention for typically developing healthy children with problem eating via a fully randomized 2-group design.
Ninety-six families of children aged 1.5 to 6 years with feeding difficulties participated in a trial of Hassle Free Mealtimes Triple P (A. Morawska and M.R. Sanders, unpublished data, 2008) in regional and metropolitan Queensland (Australia).
Results support the utility of a group-based behavioral parenting program for childhood feeding issues, with significant improvements to the mealtime and general behavior of target children, the mealtime and general practices of parents, parental confidence and cognitions, compared with a waitlist control. Six-month follow-up data and clinical and reliable change indices support the intervention's utility. Parents were also highly satisfied with the program.
The current study provides evidence of the efficacy of a group-based behavioral family intervention for mealtime difficulties, including observational and more extended outcome measures. Future directions and clinical implications of this research are discussed.