Feeding disorder and failure to thrive

M. Ramsay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


For several decades, nonorganic FTT has been diagnosed primarily by the exclusion of conventional medical causes. Such diagnosis usually is followed by intensive investigation of psychosocial factors, maternal characteristics, and mother infant relationships, without routinely considering the feeding or ingestive process in the infant. Observation of meal times usually revolves around overt feeding behaviors and maternal reactions with little attention paid to the infant's ability to ingest foods. In the recently published DSM- IV, FD is defined in terms of causing FTT. The DSM-IV definition and characterization of FD, however, continue to follow the dichotomous model of FTT. An alternate way to conceptualize FD is suggested by the biopsychosocial model. Within this model, a feeding disturbance (medical or intrinsic) triggers interactional problems, which further exacerbate the feeding disturbance. Based on this model, a multidimensional approach to assessment and treatment allows the integration of both organic and psychosocial components of this potentially devastating childhood disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-616
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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