Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a newly defined psychological disorder that is estimated to affect ~5% of children. Children with ARFID eat a limited quantity or range of foods due to sensory sensitivity to the food (i.e., taste, smell, texture, temperature, appearance), low interest/appetite, fear of adverse consequences of eating (e.g., choking, vomiting, pain), or a combination of these reasons. While ARFID causes children to have significant physical and/or psychosocial problems, little is known about what causes ARFID, particularly in early childhood when symptoms typically begin. Given the powerful effect of parent feeding behavior on early childhood eating, it is essential to understand how parent feeding behavior interacts with a child’s biological vulnerabilities for ARFID in order to develop effective behavioral interventions for ARFID in early childhood.
Project REPAS is the first study to evaluate how a child’s biological risks interact with their feeding environment to contribute to the development of ARFID symptoms in early childhood.
We are inviting 80 children ages 4-7 years old to participate in the study; 50 children who experience avoidant/restrictive eating and 30 children without eating concerns. Parents and children will be asked to come to the laboratory once to have a small meal together and to participate in tasks designed to understand children’s emotional, behavioral, and physiological responses to tastes, smells, and trying foods. Parents will also be asked to complete a one-time survey about their child’s eating behavior and emotional-behavioral development.
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