Psychosocial and developmental factors in failure to thrive: one- to three- year follow-up

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1981 Sep;2(3):112-4.


Fifteen infants and children with a diagnosis of failure to thrive (FTT) were followed at one to three years postdischarge. Data were gathered from in-home interviews, psychosocial questionnaires, measurement of present height and weight, and administration of the Developmental Profile. Nine of the 15 children were still failing to thrive; the other 6 were considered recovered. The nonthriving group consisted of three subgroups: (1) developmentally retarded, (2) organic basis FTT, and (3) psychosocial FTT. The developmentally retarded children were significantly different in that they required more attention, had greater constipation, and engaged in less tantrum behavior. Further, they were significantly more impaired in the physical, self-help, and social areas of development. The difficulties in diagnosis and treatment of FTT children are discussed. Suggestions for the enhancement of medical management of this complex and life-threatening disorder are offered.

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Growth Disorders / complications
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Growth Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Touch