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Pica in Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease

Nikita Rodrigues, Sharon Shih, Lindsey L Cohen
Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 2021, 28 (1): 6-15
Pica is the developmentally inappropriate consumption of non-nutritive items for at least one month. Pica can lead to many adverse outcomes, but the exact pathophysiology of pica is unknown or variable across populations. Several studies have evidenced that there is a high prevalence of pica among youth with sickle cell disease (SCD). However, the lack of knowledge regarding the correlates of pica contributes to overlooking the condition, inaccurate diagnoses, and a lack of evidence-based treatments once pica is identified. This review examines the literature to develop a biopsychosocial model of pica in SCD. Elucidating the potential relationships among the proposed biological, psychological, and social factors, and pica will inform our understanding of this phenomenon in pediatric SCD and may guide future research and clinical recommendations.

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