U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Kleptomania: The Compulsion to Steal -- What Can Be Done?

NCJ Number
Marcus J. Goldman M.D.
Date Published
226 pages
Based on cases and other source material from both the author's and others' clinical records and an exhaustive review of scientific literature, this book explores the causes, dynamics, and manifestations of kleptomania and assesses treatment strategies for it.
The formal diagnostic criteria for kleptomania can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), which is used by mental health practitioners to transmit to each other the general characteristics of patients they may be treating. DSM-IV considers kleptomania to be a disorder of impulse and control and defines it as "...the recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal items even though the items are not needed for personal use or their monetary value." Although the causes of kleptomania remain unclear, there are remarkable person-to-person patient similarities. Some common signs of kleptomania are depression and despair; anxiety; isolation; mood swings; secrets; guilt, shame, and remorse; and addictive behaviors. In addition to the definition and factors associated with kleptomania, this book examines why kleptomania appears to be a chronic, episodic disorder, how it is related to other problems of impulse control, and how it relates to other "addictive" types of behavior. The author also reviews the myths and misconceptions surrounding kleptomania as well as the "secrets" of its sufferers and how they relate to the disorder. Other topics addressed are whether kleptomaniacs should be viewed and treated as criminals as well as the value of various treatments, the reactions of patients to them, and their success and failure rates. 109 references


No download available