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Patterns of aberrant eating among pre-adolescent children in foster care

Tarren-Sweeney, M.,

Academic Literature


The paper reports on aberrant eating among 347 pre-adolescent children in court-ordered foster and kinship care, in New South Wales, Australia. A quarter of children displayed clinically significant abnormal eating problems, with no evidence of gender or age effects. Two distinct patterns were identified. The first is a pattern of excessive eating and food acquisition and maintenance behaviours without concurrent obesity (termed Food maintenance syndrome). This pattern is primarily triggered by acute stress, including maltreatment in care, against a background of complex psychopathology and developmental disabilities. The second is a cluster of eating behaviours that are linked to self-injurious behaviour and developmental disabilities. The paper includes recommendations for clinicians working with pre-adolescent children in care.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

Location : Australasia

Domain/s: Housing and the built environment, Health and wellbeing

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