Foam Rubber Pica and Cautopyreiophagia in a Highly Educated Woman: A Clinical Case Study

Michael Van Wert, Kelsey McVey, Tammy Donohue, Taylor Wasserstein, Jefferson Curry, Naomi Goldstick Rosner, Eitan Kimchi, Una McCann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pica, the developmentally and culturally-inappropriate eating of non-nutritive and non-food substances, is most often documented in people with developmental disabilities and children, frequently in institutional and residential settings. To date, there are no randomized clinical trials on pica-specific treatments, and very little literature is available regarding the characteristics or treatment of pica in adults with no intellectual or social deficits, and co-morbid disorders. This case study addresses this gap, and involves a highly educated 30 year-old American woman with foam rubber pica and burned match consumption (cautopyreiophagia) behaviors, along with co-morbid depressive, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, who received treatment in a general intensive outpatient program for adults in a large urban community psychiatry setting. The case study describes how the Biosocial Theory and Transtheoretical Model of Health Behavior Change were used to conceptualize this woman’s symptoms and guide a treatment team of clinicians who did not specialize in pica. Providers in non-specialty clinic settings would benefit from reflecting on ways to adapt evidence-based techniques to the treatment of uncommon symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-481
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Case Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • intensive outpatient program
  • mental health
  • pica
  • psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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