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Children’s restricted eating: analysis of parental and mealtime discourses

Bibbings, Harriet Joan Frances (2017) Children’s restricted eating: analysis of parental and mealtime discourses. D.Clin.Psychol thesis, University of Leeds.

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Introduction: Many children restrict their food intake, some to the extent that they receive clinical intervention. Much of the literature on feeding difficulties implicates parents’ actions in the mealtimes as relevant for outcomes around eating behaviour in the child. However, there is little consideration of the discourses and constructions made by parents in the understanding of their children’s eating and mealtimes. A discourse analytic project was therefore undertaken with the aims of finding how parents talked (or used language) about their child’s eating and mealtimes both within a mealtime and when reflecting about mealtimes. Method: Two studies were devised to meet these aims. Study 1: A video recording was made of mealtimes in a clinical sample of three families accessing NHS services in relation to their child’s restricted eating. Parents were subsequently interviewed, providing talk about their child’s eating and reflections about their child’s mealtimes. Study 2: A non-clinical sample of parents using mumsnet and netmums internet forums ,who identified themselves as having a child who restricted their food intake, were invited to take part in a qualitative online study about their child’s eating and mealtimes. Data from both studies was analysed using discourse analytic methods. Results and discussion: Study 1 found discourses about the children having been unwell and needing special care; acceptance and loss; blame and responsibility for the problem and implications of parental identity. These could be used to understand the goals of the mealtimes and the actions completed by parents at mealtimes. Study 2 found discourses about the constructions about the child’s eating; parents’ emotional reactions, and blame and responsibility. Taken together, the construction of the problem, whether parents accept or feel loss around it; and ideas around parental responsibility and blame contextualise different approaches to mealtimes. This gives clinicians and others ways to consider mealtimes, and how these may vary in individual families, in order to best offer support.

Item Type: Thesis (D.Clin.Psychol)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Health Sciences (Leeds) > Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Health Sciences (Leeds)
Depositing User: Miss Harriet Bibbings
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2018 11:55
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2019 08:09
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19663

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