Graduation Date

Spring 5-5-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Cathleen C. Piazza

Second Advisor

Kathryn M. Peterson


Previous literature supports the use of a functional analysis to prescribe treatment for children with feeding disorders (Bachmeyer et al., 2009; Piazza, Fisher, et al., 2003). Nevertheless, clinicians often train caregivers to use healthy contingencies, independent of whether those contingencies are function based. We do not know, however, whether including nonfunction-based contingencies differentially affects inappropriate mealtime behavior. In the current study, we observed that caregivers of 3 children with feeding disorders provided escape from bites and drinks and attention following inappropriate mealtime behavior. Results of a functional analysis showed escape from bites or drinks, but not attention, reinforced inappropriate mealtime behavior. We then tested the effects of escape extinction when the feeder either delivered or withheld attention following inappropriate mealtime behavior. Inappropriate mealtime behavior decreased and acceptance increased when the feeder implemented escape extinction independent of whether he or she delivered or withheld attention. We discuss implications of including nonfunction-based components in treatment for pediatric feeding disorders.