Exploring the psychological determinants of Geophagia among Women At Kabwata Clinic In Lusaka

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Zimba, Kalinda
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University of Zambia
General objective To explore the practice of geophagia and views of women who practice geophagia on their experiences with regards to determining factors and risk factors. Methods This research was a quantitative study. Descriptive study design was used to collect, classify, analyze, compare and interpret data. This study was conducted at Kabwata Antenatal clinic and consisted of pregnant and non-pregnant women who practiced geophagia between 18-50 years old. Purposive sampling technique was used to decide which participants to include in the sample, trying to choose respondents who are typical of the population (n=120). Results Most participants said that they eat soil because they believe it protects the unborn baby, shortens labor and increases fertility. In addition, physiological factors also played a role in the practice of geophagia. The majority of the women in this study eat soil because they believe it gives them energy/nutrients, strengthens them and because they enjoy the taste of soil. Almost half of the participants (45.8%) have experienced some sought of health problem as a result of eating soil. These included diarrhoea, warms, stomach pains and constipation. The results showed that regular use of soil did not correlate with any influential factors nor any level of consumption. Risky use correlated with Age r (120) = -.267, p < .05, Psychological factors, r (120) = .666, p < .01 and Physiological factors r (120) = .456, p < .01. Dependence Psychological factors r (120) = .368, p < .01, Physiological factors r (120) = .319, p < .01, and Risky use, r (120) = .477, p < .01, Discussion/Conclusion The study aimed to determine the quantity and frequency of soil consumption. The participants reported to practice geophagia for physiological and psychological beliefs. 45.8% of the participants admitted to have health problems from consuming soil, despite having health complication, all the women continued to practice geophagia. The study reported more that young women practice geophagia. The study also showed the level of substance abuse. The results of this study also showed that an interaction of factors such as psychological and physiological may influence the practice of geophagia in Zambia. Key words; Geophagia, Pica, Physiological factors, Cultural factors, Psychological factors.