Prevalence of pica and rumination behaviors in German children aged 7-14 and their associations with feeding, eating, and general psychopathology: a population-based study.Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018 Nov; 27(11):1499-1508.EC
Despite potentially severe medical consequences of pica and rumination disorder (RD), little is known about their prevalence and association with other psychopathology in childhood. As a part of a larger population-based study, 804 children aged 7-14 years and their parents were asked about their experience of pica and RD behaviors, and associated eating, feeding and general psychopathology. A total of 12.31 and 11.49% of the participants reported having engaged in pica or RD behaviors, respectively, at least once. Recurring pica or RD behaviors had been experienced by 4.98 and 1.49% of the participants, respectively. The behaviors showed a significant but small correlation with one another (r = 0.28, p < 0.01). Correlations with symptoms of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) were significant but small (pica: r = 0.18, RD: r = 0.27, both p < 0.01). Prevalence rates of recurring pica behavior were significantly increased if recurring RD was present (58.33%), and also vice versa (17.50%). The prevalence rates of recurrent pica and RD behaviors were also increased in the presence of an ARFID diagnosis (both behaviors 12.0%). However, correlations with restraint and eating, weight, and shape concern were non-significant (all p > 0.05). Additionally, RD behavior was positively correlated with emotional and conduct problems (r = 0.15 and 0.22, both p < 0.01), and both behaviors were negatively correlated with prosocial behavior (r = - 0.10 and - 0.09, both p < 0.05). Our findings underscore the clinical significance of pica and RD behaviors. More research is warranted on both disorders and their association and relation with ARFID to deepen the understanding of their presentation and to ascertain diagnostic validity.