Eating Disorders

Food Refusal and Failure to Thrive
  • Mary Lou Kelley
  • Robert W. Heffer
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series


Eating disorders in children and adolescents are commonly encountered in pediatric inpatient and outpatient settings and are sources of frequent parental concern. This chapter discusses two such problems: food refusal and failure to thrive. Both problems generally involve deficits in appropriate eating or weight gain and can lead to numerous medical complications. Failure to thrive and food refusal have been distinguished from one another in the literature and do in fact often differ with regard to topography and factors contributing to the maintenance of problem behavior. This chapter, however, highlights the similarities of the two disorders and suggests that a behavior analytic model of assessment is applicable to both. The practical advantages of such a model are discussed and illustrated through case examples.


Eating Disorder Apply Behavior Analysis American Dietetic Association Food Refusal Poor Weight Gain 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Lou Kelley
    • 1
  • Robert W. Heffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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