• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Pica

  • By: Tonishea Coleman
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Pica is an eating disorder typically defined as the persistent eating of nonnutritive substances for a period of at least one month at an age in which the behavior is developmentally inappropriate. Individuals suffering from pica mouth and/or ingest a variety of substances, including, but not limited to, clay, dirt, stones, hair, feces, lead, plastic, paper, paint chips, chalk, and wood. Pica's etiology is unknown; however, hypotheses ranging from psychosocial causes to biochemical factors have been implicated. The prevalence of pica is also unknown because the disorder is often unrecognized or underreported. However, it is most commonly reported in children and individuals with mental retardation. Complications associated with pica range from mild to life-threatening, depending on the materials ingested and the subsequent medical consequences. Individuals ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles