Treating Eating Disorders in Middle Childhood

Dasha Nicholls and Hilary Davies

in The Oxford Handbook of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders: Developmental Perspectives

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199744459
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Treating Eating Disorders in Middle Childhood

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This chapter focuses on eating disorders and eating problems that occur in middle childhood. Three main sections cover the main developmental challenges of middle childhood, including the impact of pubertal and cognitive maturation and the role of family and peer environment; the expression and treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and variants of these eating disorders in this age group; and then the atypical eating problems that commonly present or become clinically concerning in this developmental period, such as selective eating, food avoidance disorders, and food and swallowing phobias. The evidence base for work with this age group is limited, particularly for the atypical eating problems. Instead, the chapter is illustrated throughout with clinical vignettes. There is an urgent need to better characterize the feeding and eating problems arising in childhood, with consequent implications for clinical management, and to better understand the continuities and discontinuities between eating difficulties across the lifespan.

Keywords: Eating disorders; childhood; developmental; atypical eating disorders; feeding disorders

Article.  13008 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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