Family Experience with Eating Disorders Scale: Congruence of Child and Parent Perceptions of Family Environment

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 8:30 AM

Victoria N. Folse, PhD, APRN, BC, LCPC
School of Nursing, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL
Kathleen M. Hoff, BSN, RN
Nursing, Evanston Hospital, Evanston, IL

Learning Objective 1: examine the psychometric properties of the Parent and Child Versions of the Family Experience with Eating Disorders Scale(FEEDS).

Learning Objective 2: discuss the clinical utility of the FEEDS to assure familial factors are identified at the onset of treatment and incorporated into the plan of care.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the degree of congruence in parent-child perceptions of family dynamics using a newly developed client version of the FEEDS. A scoring rubric was created for clinical use based on previously normed data comparing parental responses between families whose child had either an eating disorder, a non-eating disorder psychiatric disorder, or no mental health condition.

Methods: The Family Experience with Eating Disorders Scale (FEEDS) addresses the psychometric deficits common in existing general family assessment instruments and captures family dynamics specific to eating disorders. The 53-item FEEDS was designed to illicit the parental perception of the family environment and assesses family dynamics specific to eating disorders, including family relationships, interactional skills, and modeling of weight, shape, and eating. Additional psychometric properties of the FEEDS and evaluates its appropriateness for use in clinical practice beyond its initial development for research purposes were examined. A sample of 35 matched parent-child dyads revealed adequate levels of reliability as measured by Cronbach’s alphas. Pearson product moment correlations and independent t-tests did not support differences between parent and child perceptions on subscale totals, but did yield statistically significant differences on select items in the Interactional Skills subscale.

Results: The outcome of this study has clinical and research implications; the consistent use of the FEEDS (Parent and Child Versions) can guide the direction of therapy when familial factors are identified at the onset of treatment and incorporated into the plan of care.

Conclusion: The FEEDS offers a systematic way to examine and discuss differences in perception among family members. Clinicians providing care to individuals and families with eating disorders will find the FEEDS a useful adjunct to clinical assessment and instrumental in designing nursing interventions and measuring treatment outcomes.