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Parental Feeding Style, Parenting Stress, and Child Mealtime Behaviors in Cystic Fibrosis

Genevieve Maliszewski, Robin High, Junghyae Lee, Ashley Deschamp

Nov 7, 2023



Nutrition and weight gain significantly contribute to overall health outcomes in children with cystic fibrosis (CF). Strong emphasis is placed on these entities by the CF team, which can cause stress for parents and impact parent and child mealtime behaviors. The current study sought to investigate the relationship between parental feeding style, parenting stress, and parent and child mealtime behaviors in families of children with CF.


Forty-five parents of a child with CF between the ages of 2 and 10 years were recruited during a CF clinic appointment. They completed surveys assessing child mealtime behaviors, parental feeding style, and parental stress. Medical data including body mass index (BMI) were collected from the medical record.


There was a significant difference in behavioral feeding scores based on feeding style (F3,41 = 13.48, p <.001), with authoritarian parents reporting significantly greater mealtime behavior problems than all other parents. There was also a significant difference in parenting stress based on parental feeding style (F3,41=4.11, p <.05), with authoritarian parents showing more stress than authoritative parents (Mdiff=23.70, p <.05). Correlation analyses showed a positive relationship between behavioral feeding problems and parent stress, r(45)=0.403; p <.01.


Data suggest parents using an authoritarian feeding style experience more stress and behavioral feeding problems than other parents. More feeding problems were also associated with more stress. Findings help determine how pediatric psychologists can intervene to support positive parenting behaviors that reduce children's mealtime behavior problems and parental stress, thus improving health outcomes in this vulnerable population.

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