Neurocognitive deficits associated with shoplifting in young adults

Jon E. Grant, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Liana R.N. Schreiber, Brian L. Odlaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: Shoplifting is a relatively common behavior in young adults, but the demographic and neuropsychological correlates of shoplifting remain poorly characterized in this context. Method: Non-treatment-seeking young adults (18-29 years) were recruited from the general community on the basis of having no Axis I disorders, no history of illicit substance use, and no history of conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder. Participants were grouped according to presence or absence of shoplifting (at least 1 time over the past 12 months). Measures relating to impulsivity along with objective computerized neuropsychological measures were collected. Results: Shoplifters (n = 14) and controls (n = 95) did not differ significantly in terms of salient demographic characteristics. Compared with controls, shoplifters endorsed higher impulsivity on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and Eysenck Impulsivity Questionnaire, gambled significantly more points on the Cambridge Gambling Task, and showed deficits on the hardest level of difficulty on the Spatial Working Memory task. Performance on executive planning, set-shifting, and response inhibition did not differ significantly between shoplifters and controls. Conclusions: This study identified significant cognitive deficits in those with past-year shoplifting behavior even in the absence of Axis I disorders and a history of illicit drugs or alcohol. These preliminary findings inform our understanding of the neurocognitive sequelae of shoplifting and its relationship with other impulse control problems, subclinical and clinical. Future work should use longitudinal designs to examine the temporal relationship between these deficits, shoplifting behavior, other impulsive behavior, and functional impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1055
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cambridge Gambling Task
  • CGT
  • IDED
  • Intradimensional/Extradimensional Set-Shift Task
  • One-Touch Stockings of Cambridge Task
  • OTS
  • Spatial Working Memory
  • SST
  • Stop Signal Task
  • SWM


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