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Abstract:Can shoplifting be associated with some mental disease?
Can shoplifting be associated with some mental disease?
Some clinical studies have overemphasized one particular scenario: a middle aged lady, without previous convictions or criminal offence history, who is charged with taking from a shop something that she could easily have paid for and, in any case, something she has no need or use for.
On psychiatric examination she recites a tale of domestic woe in which episode her attention lapsed. She may be depressed, although whether this preceded or followed arrest is often difficult to establish exactly.
Inattentiveness or forgetfulness of depressive origin undoubtedly occurs, but should not be overestimated as a cause of theft. Since, in our culture, theft from shops and supermarkets constitutes a massive problem for retail industry. And the great majority of perpetrators are young, mentally well, and don't get caught.
As a matter of fact, the proportion of shoplifters with psychiatric disorders is probably no more than five percent.