Legal consequences of Kleptomania

Jon E. Grant, Brian L. Odlaug, Andrew A. Davis, Suck W Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although studies have examined clinical characteristics of kleptomania, no previous studies have examined the legal consequences of kleptomania. From 2001 to 2007, 101 adult subjects (n = 27 [26.7%] males) with DSM-IV kleptomania were assessed on sociodemographics and clinical characteristics including symptom severity, comorbidity, and legal repercussions. Of 101 subjects with kleptomania, 73.3% were female. Mean age of shoplifting onset was 19.4 ± 12.0 years, and subjects shoplifted a mean of 8.2 ± 11.0 years prior to meeting full criteria for kleptomania. Co-occurring depressive, substance use, and impulse control disorders were common. Sixty-nine subjects with kleptomania (68.3%) had been arrested, 36.6% had been arrested but not convicted, 20.8% had been convicted and incarcerated after conviction, while only 10.9% had been convicted and not incarcerated after conviction. Kleptomania is associated with significant legal repercussions. The findings emphasize the need for rigorous treatment approaches to target kleptomania symptoms and prevent re-offending.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported in part by a Career Development Award by the National Institute of Mental Health (K23 MH069754-01A1) (JEG). Dr. Grant has received research grants from Forest Pharmaceuticals, Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Grant has also been a consultant to Somaxon Pharmaceuticals and for law offices as an expert in pathological gambling.


  • Forensic
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Kleptomania
  • Phenomenology

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