Identifying empirically supported treatments for pica in individuals with intellectual disabilities

Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Nov-Dec;32(6):2114-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.07.042. Epub 2011 Sep 8.


The purpose of the current study was to critically examine the existing literature on the treatment of pica displayed by individuals with intellectual disabilities. Criteria for empirically supported treatments as described by Divisions 12 and 16 of APA, and adapted for studies employing single-case designs were used to review this body of literature. A total of 34 treatment studies were identified, 25 of which were well designed and reported at least an 80% reduction in pica (21 studies reported 90% or greater reduction in pica). Results indicated that behavioral treatments in general, and treatments involving the combination of reinforcement and response reduction procedures in particular, can be designated as well-established treatments for pica exhibited by individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Behavior Therapy / standards
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Pica / complications*
  • Pica / therapy*