The relationship between food refusal and social skills in persons with intellectual disabilities

Johnny L. Matson, Christopher L. Cooper, Steven B. Mayville, Melissa L. González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Feeding problems are common among individuals with intellectual disabilities. The aim of the current study was to determine the relationship between food refusal and social skills in people with intellectual disability. Method: The Screening Tool of Feeding Problems (STEP) was administered to all residents of a large developmental centre. This screening tool identified 82 residents who exhibited food refusal, and 81 residents who did not exhibit food refusal. The Matson Evaluation of Social Skills in Persons with Severe Retardation (MESSIER) was administered to the 163 participants. Results: People who exhibited food refusal displayed significantly more negative nonverbal and general negative social skills when compared to controls. Food refusal was prevalent across all ages, genders, and levels of intellectual disability. Conclusions: As social skill deficits are associated with deficits in feeding skills, social skills training should be considered as a major component of behavioural interventions targeting food refusal in people with intellectual disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

Keywords

  • Food refusal
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Social skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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