Food selectivity, mealtime behavior problems, spousal stress, and family food choices in children with and without autism spectrum disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Oct;45(10):3308-15. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2490-x.


Mealtime behavior problems and family stress occur frequently among families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, it is unknown whether food selectivity is an associated factor. The associations of high food selectivity with mealtime behavior problems, spousal stress, and influence on family members were assessed among 53 children with ASD and 58 typically developing (TD) children ages 3-11 years. Compared to TD children, children with ASD were more likely to have high food selectivity, and their parents reported more mealtime behavior problems, higher spousal stress, and influence on what other family members ate. High food selectivity was associated with mealtime behavior problems in both groups. Interventions to reduce food selectivity may lead to decreases in mealtime behavior problems.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Food selectivity; Mealtime behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology