Perceived attitudes, parenting practices, and beliefs of nutrition and psychosocial interplay in families of children with dystrophinopathy


Translational Research

Poster Number: Virtual


Maddie Flegal, University of Arkansas Medical School, Rachel Bearden, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Brett Haley, Arkansas Children's Research Institute, Kindann Fawcett, PhD, University of Arkansas Medical School, Seth Sorensen, PhD, University of Arkansas Medical School, Aravindhan Veerapandiyan, MD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Nutrition is an imperative aspect for the management of Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy (DBMD) but research on the role of parenting styles and how they influence child eating behaviors is absent. The objective of this study was to explore child eating behaviors, parenting, and the perception and beliefs of the patients and family members pertaining to the nutrition and weight changes in children with DBMD. In this prospective, observational exploratory study, caregivers of children with DBMD completed questionnaires regarding parenting styles, eating behaviors, psychosocial and neurobehavioral health, and the way it affects patients' nutrition and weight. We anticipate this study will provide novel data and key information from parents and patients diagnosed with DBMD regarding parenting practices, eating behaviors, and perceptions surrounding nutrition in the child's care. Parents of twenty-one patients with DBMD responded to questionnaires on their parenting style and their child’s eating behaviors. Three-quarters of the respondents were the patient’s mother, many of whom were white, middle-class, married Arkansans. Approximately half of the caregivers considered themselves involved and approximately a quarter considered themselves highly involved. Of the respondents, one-fourth reported their child being emotional overeaters while two-thirds reported their children being emotional undereaters. Preliminary analyses of the results point towards parenting styles and child eating behaviors being positively related but these results will be analyzed further pending the closure of the study. Results are expected to demonstrate the need for higher levels of nutrition education, family interaction, mental health services, and multidisciplinary care. This data is expected to lead to further inquisitions on parenting styles as a factor that influences weight gain in patients with DBMD. This project was supported by the UAMS (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) Translational Research Institute Team Science Award.