Objective To examine the associations among negative/reactive temperament, feeding styles, and selective eating in a sample of preschoolers because preschool eating behaviors likely have lasting implications for children's health. Methods A community sample of preschoolers aged 3-5 years (M=4.49 years, 49.5% female, 75.7% European American) in the Midwest of the United States was recruited to participate in the study (N=297). Parents completed measures of temperament and feeding styles at two time points 6 months apart. Results A series of regressions indicated that children who had temperaments high in negative affectivity were significantly more likely to experience instrumental and emotional feeding styles. They were also significantly more likely to be selective eaters. These associations were present when examined both concurrently and after 6 months. Conclusions This study provides a novel investigation of child temperament and eating behaviors, allowing for a better understanding of how negative affectivity is associated with instrumental feeding, emotional feeding, and selective eating. These results inform interventions to improve child health.
- emotional feeding
- instrumental feeding
- picky eating
- selective eating
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology