Functional Assessment and Treatment of Mealtime Behavior Problems

Tami L. Galensky, Raymond G. Miltenberger, Jason M. Stricker, Matthew A. Garlinghouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study utilized descriptive assessment methods to develop hypotheses regarding the function of mealtime behavior problems for three typically developing children. Functional treatment was evaluated in the natural setting with caregivers as change agents. Overall, results of the descriptive assessment suggested that each child's problem behavior was maintained by escape and, to a lesser extent, attention. In addition, this study suggested that direct observation was more reliable than a behavioral interview or questionnaire in acquiring the information necessary to develop hypotheses on factors maintaining a child's mealtime behavior problems. Finally, a functional treatment package consisting of extinction, stimulus fading, and reinforcement of appropriate eating behaviors implemented by the caregivers was effective in decreasing the mealtime behavior problems for two of the children who continued in the study, thus providing support for the hypotheses developed from the assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Positive Behavior Interventions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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