Systematic review: mealtime behavior measures used in pediatric chronic illness populations

J Pediatr Psychol. 2015 Jun;40(5):475-86. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu117. Epub 2015 Jan 25.


Objective: This systematic review evaluates the utility and psychometric properties of pediatric mealtime assessments (direct observation and parent-report measures) using evidence-based criteria developed by the Division 54 Evidence-Based Assessment Task Force.

Method: Measures of mealtime behavior used in at least one chronic illness pediatric population were eligible for inclusion. A total of 23 assessment measures were reviewed (16 parent-/self-report; 7 direct observation).

Results: 3 parent-report and 4 direct observation measures were classified as well-established, 3 met criteria for approaching well-established, and 13 were categorized as promising. Measures have been primarily used in children with feeding disorders, cystic fibrosis, and autism spectrum disorders.

Conclusions: Overall, the literature of pediatric mealtime assessment tools shows a strong evidence base for many direct observation methods and subjective parent-report measures. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses are available for some measures; recommendations for future validation research and measure development across pediatric populations are discussed.

Keywords: children; chronic illness; eating and feeding disorders; systematic review..

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Psychometrics