Adolescent stealing treated with motivational interviewing and imaginal desensitization - Case report

Jon E. Grant, Brian L. Odlaug, Christopher B. Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Adolescent shoplifting occurs in an estimated 15% of the United States population. Although adolescent stealing is associated with significant psychosocial consequences there is limited research concerning efficacious treatments. Case study: A 17-year-old male with a history of compulsive stealing was treated using a six-session, individualized cognitive-behavioral therapy protocol which included motivational interviewing, psycho-education, behavioral modification, and an exposure script using imaginal desensitization. After the six-session therapy, the patient continued for eight further sessions of therapy to maintain treatment gains. His Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale scores dropped from a 22 pre-treatment to a 3 at the end of the 14 sessions of therapy and he remained abstinent from stealing. Discussion: This case reports on the successful use of an individualized, cognitive behavioral therapy on an adolescent with compulsive shoplifting and other antisocial behaviors. This treatment provides a promising step towards the treatment of a relatively common adolescent behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-192
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 Akadémiai Kiadó.


  • Adolescence
  • Antisocial
  • Maladaptive
  • Stealing
  • Therapy


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