Pica behaviors in a German community-based online adolescent and adult sample : an examination of substances, triggers, and associated pathology

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2020
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Eating and Weight Disorders : Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. Springer. 2020, 25(3), pp. 811-815. ISSN 1124-4909. eISSN 1590-1262. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s40519-019-00693-w
Zusammenfassung

Purpose
To examine self-reported pica substances, situational triggers for, and associated psychosocial burden of pica eating in adolescents and adults in a Western European population.

Methods
A total of 78 individuals aged 16 years and over, who indicated consuming a substance that in their opinion is not considered as food, participated in an online survey. Two questionnaires assessed eating disorder and general psychopathology, and a third asked about the substances consumed, duration and frequency of consumption, triggers for consumption, emotions thereafter, and interest in treatment.

Results
The most frequently reported substances included foods in an uncooked or non-edible form, body parts/fluids, grass, leaves, paper, and earth-like substances, with 54 (69.23%) participants reporting a substance that would qualify as pica substance according to DSM-5. The main triggers for consumption were taste of the substance/indulgence, boredom, curiosity, and release of internal tension. The most common emotion after consumption was relief. Pica eating frequency was not significantly related to eating disorder and general psychopathology (both p > 0.05). A total of 24 individuals considered their pica eating as disruptive, of whom only eight declared an interest in treatment.

Conclusions
The kind of substances consumed is in line with the previous reports in other populations. Pica eating does not seem to be associated with significant psychosocial burden; only a subgroup indicated that they experience it as disruptive and expressed interest in treatment. Nevertheless, for these individuals, triggers for pica eating and emotions thereafter might provide first hints for the development of interventions.

Level of Evidence
Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache
Fachgebiet (DDC)
150 Psychologie
Schlagwörter
Pica eating, Pica substances, Adolescents and adults, Eating disorder psychopathology, General psychopathology
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ISO 690HARTMANN, Andrea S., 2020. Pica behaviors in a German community-based online adolescent and adult sample : an examination of substances, triggers, and associated pathology. In: Eating and Weight Disorders : Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. Springer. 2020, 25(3), pp. 811-815. ISSN 1124-4909. eISSN 1590-1262. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s40519-019-00693-w
BibTex
@article{Hartmann2020-06behav-55225,
  year={2020},
  doi={10.1007/s40519-019-00693-w},
  title={Pica behaviors in a German community-based online adolescent and adult sample : an examination of substances, triggers, and associated pathology},
  number={3},
  volume={25},
  issn={1124-4909},
  journal={Eating and Weight Disorders : Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity},
  pages={811--815},
  author={Hartmann, Andrea S.}
}
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