Date of Award

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

John Shelley-Tremblay, Ph.D.

Abstract

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder with three presentations. These are sensory sensitivity, a lack of interest in eating or food, and fear of aversive consequences. The present study seeks to confirm the three-dimensional model of ARFID with the Parent-Report Nine Item ARFID Scale, which serves as a clinical measure of severity of ARFID symptoms. Participants were recruited through a pediatric anxiety clinic and given the Autism Quotient (AQ), Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC), Behavioral Pediatric Feeding Assessment, and the Nine Item ARFID Screen (NIAS). The final sample was one hundred and eighty two (n = 182). The present study sought to find construct validity for the NIAS, convergent validity for candidate ARFID mechanisms and the NIAS, and criterion validity between the NIAS and the BPFAS. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was utilized to investigate construct validity of the three-factor ARFID model and the three-factor NIAS model with Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). Correlations and regression analyses were utilized to investigate convergent validity between candidate ARFID mechanisms and the NIAS. Correlations and regression analysis were utilized to investigate criterion validity between the BPFAS and the NIAS as well. Each of the hypotheses were supported both by statistically significant results, as well as reflecting results found within the previous literature as well. The present study is the first to my knowledge to test the validity of the NIAS as a diagnostic instrument for ARFID, and has valuable implications for both future research and advancements in clinical practice.

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