Impact of Selective Eating on Social Domains Among Transition-Age Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Qualitative Study

J Autism Dev Disord. 2020 Aug;50(8):2902-2912. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04397-4.


Food selectivity is a common feeding problem among autistic children. The objective of this qualitative study was to explore the impact of selective eating on key social domains-with family, peers, and in other social situations-of transition-age autistic youth who self-identified as being food selective. Interviews were conducted with 20 autistic youth ages 18-23 years. Data were analyzed using descriptive and thematic coding. Participants had developed a range of strategies to cope with their food selectivity, and although some expressed concerns, they did not feel that it had a major impact on social situations. A responsive approach to supporting such youth would likely involve recognizing the effort and skills that the youth have already developed around this issue.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Food selectivity; Social domain; Transition-age youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Behavior*
  • Young Adult