REFERENCE: Spieth, L. E., Stark, L. J., Mitchell, M. J., Schiller, M., Cohen, L. L., Mulvihill, M. et al. (2001). Observational assessment of family functioning at mealtime in preschool children with cystic fibrosis. J Pediatr Psychol, 26, 215-224.
OBJECTIVE: To examine functioning during a dinner meal in families of a child with a chronic illness that requires dietary treatment recommendations, as compared to families of a child without a chronic illness.
METHODS: Ratings of seven dimensions of family functioning on the McMaster Mealtime Family Interaction Coding System (MICS) were obtained on 29 families of children with CF and 29 families of children with no chronic illness, ages 2 to 6 years, during a videotaped dinner meal at home.
RESULTS: Ratings of families with a child with CF were significantly lower than those for families of children without a chronic illness on Overall Family Functioning and five of the six MICS dimensions: Communication, Interpersonal Involvement, Affect Management, Behavior Control, and Role Allocation and approached significance on the Task Accomplishment dimension. The ratings of families of a child with CF were in the "clinically significant" range on all subcales, including Task ACCOMPLISHMENT.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that family functioning at mealtimes may be different in families of children with CF in which explicit dietary guidelines exist than in families of children with no illness or dietary guidelines. These results are discussed in terms of global family functioning and treatment approaches to dietary treatment recommendations.