Behavioral treatment of pica in children with lead poisoning

Nancy A. Madden, Dennis C. Russo, Michael F. Cataldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Lead poisoning, a serious problem that can result in permanent neurological damage, often results from the ingestion of inedible substances that contain lead. The behavior of ingesting nonedible substances is termed pica. In this study, behavior modification procedures were used to eliminate pica in three young children with lead poisoning. Three kinds of procedures were used: (I) discrimination training, in which the subject was taught to recognize that paint and several objects were not edible; (2) reinforcement for the absence of pica; and (3) overcorrection for the occurrence of pica. Pica was eliminated in all three subjects. While it was not always clear which component of the treatment was responsible for. the decrease, the sequence used had the the advantage of an effective clinical technique proceeding from least to progressively more restrictive procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-81
Number of pages15
JournalChild Behavior Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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