Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Marie-Christine Goodworth, PhD

Second Advisor

Celeste Jones, PsyD

Third Advisor

Darren Janzen, PsyD


More than one-quarter of the pediatric population in the United States struggles with feeding or swallowing challenges, many of which become chronic, lifelong disorders. Diagnosis and treatment of feeding and disorders can be challenging due to the interplay of behavioral and medical factors that create food refusal by the child. Treatment of feeding disorders is difficult, as it requires comprehensive involvement of parents and caregivers, which can be demanding and stressful. Parental stress may include anxiety, fear, and frustration with the child(ren) with feeding or swallowing disorders and can negatively affect health outcomes for children. Specialty clinics designed to address treatment needs for children diagnosed with a feeding disorder can provide tools necessary to improve the child’s health outcomes (e.g., feeding plans implemented by parents/caregivers). This study examined the perspectives of 81 parents/caregivers within the feeding clinic at a large children’s hospital in the Pacific Northwest. Parents/caregivers reported on their clinic experience and how their needs were met, with specific attention to stress and motivation for implementation of treatment plans outside of clinic appointments. Overall, participants were largely satisfied with the clinic operations, typically scored within higher levels of activation (knowledge, skills, and confidence in managing their child’s healthcare). Most endorsed “child resistance to eating” as a main barrier to successful mealtime interactions. Recommendations for future research included a focus on implementation of stress reduction/management techniques, incorporation of outcome measures for the clinic, and incorporation of health literacy measures within the clinic.