Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 1391–1400 | Cite as

What is the long-term outcome of boys who steal at age eight? Findings from the Finnish nationwide “From A Boy To A Man” birth cohort study

  • André Sourander
  • Sturla Fossum
  • John A. Rønning
  • Henrik Elonheimo
  • Terja Ristkari
  • Kirsti Kumpulainen
  • Tuula Tamminen
  • Jorma Piha
  • Irma Moilanen
  • Fredrik Almqvist
Original Paper



The aim was to study predictive associations between childhood stealing behavior at the of age 8 years with later psychiatric disorders, criminality or suicide attempts and completed suicides up to the age 25 years in a large representative population-based birth cohort.


The sample includes 2,592 Finnish males born in 1981 with information about stealing from both parents and teachers. Information about psychiatric disorders, criminality, suicide attempts requiring hospital admission and completed suicides was gathered from four different Finnish nationwide registries until the study participants were 25 years old.


One out of ten boys had stealing behavior during the previous 12 months. After adjusting for parental education level and conduct problems or hyperactivity (i.e. potential confounds), stealing at eight independently predicted substance use and antisocial personality disorders, and high level of crimes. Stealing was also associated with completed suicide or severe suicide attempt requiring hospital admission. Comorbid stealing and frequent aggression had the strongest predictive association with any psychiatric diagnosis, crime and completed suicide or severe suicide attempt, while stealing without aggression was not associated with any of the negative outcomes.


Stealing accompanied with aggressivity at age eight is predictive of wide range of adversities. However, no increased risk was observed among the group with stealing behaviors but without aggression.


Stealing Childhood Psychopathology Crime Suicide 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Sourander
    • 1
  • Sturla Fossum
    • 2
  • John A. Rønning
    • 3
    • 4
  • Henrik Elonheimo
    • 5
  • Terja Ristkari
    • 1
  • Kirsti Kumpulainen
    • 6
  • Tuula Tamminen
    • 7
  • Jorma Piha
    • 1
  • Irma Moilanen
    • 8
  • Fredrik Almqvist
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Child PsychiatryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Regional Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  4. 4.University Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  5. 5.Faculty of LawUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  6. 6.Department of Child PsychiatryUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  7. 7.Department of Child PsychiatryUniversity of TampereTampereFinland
  8. 8.Department of Child PsychiatryUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  9. 9.Department of Child PsychiatryUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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