Role of psychosocial stress in the cause of pica

S Singhi, P Singhi, G B Adwani
Clinical Pediatrics 1981, 20 (12): 783-5
Fifty children with iron deficiency anemia with pica and 50 children with iron deficiency anemia without pica were studied to detail their psychosocial environment. Children in two groups were individually matched for age, sex, socioeconomic class, and degree of anemia. The pica group had significantly greater stress scores (7.6 +/- 2.8) as compared to the control group (4.1 + 2.1; t= 5.05; p less than 0.001). The stress factors that were significantly associated with pica were maternal deprivation (p less than 0.01), child's caretaker other than the mother (p less than 0.001), parental separation (p less than 0.01), parental attitude of neglect, joint family (p less than 0.001), child beating (p less than 0.01), too little mother-child interaction (p less than 0.01), and too little father-child interaction (p less than 0.001). Hence, in the management of pica, a thorough evaluation of the psychosocial setting in which the child lives and an effort to alleviate psychosocial stress are important.

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