Shoplifting and eating disorders: an anonymous self-administered survey

  • Maya Yanase
  • Genichi Sugihara
  • Toshiya Murai
  • Shun’ichi NomaEmail author
Original Article



To explore the characteristics of eating disorders related to shoplifting behavior and identify the risk and protective factors related to shoplifting among patients with eating disorders.


Eighty females with eating disorders were recruited from an eating disorders clinic. They were asked to complete anonymous self-report questionnaires on demographic characteristics, shoplifting behavior, psychological characteristics and eating disorder symptomology. We investigated differences in clinical characteristics between those with and without shoplifting history or a current drive to shoplift.


The response rate was 92.5%. Of the respondents, 37.8% reported a history of shoplifting and 16.2% a current drive for shoplifting. The patients with shoplifting history had lower socioeconomic status (SES), higher impulsivity and higher symptom severity of eating disorders compared with those without this history. The patients with a current drive for shoplifting had more depressive symptoms, more severe anxiety, more obsessional traits, and higher symptom severity of eating disorders.


Severity of illness and SES seem to have a serious impact on shoplifting behavior among eating disordered patients. These findings may suggest risk and protective factors related to shoplifting among eating disordered patients.


Eating disorder Shoplifting Risk factor Protective factor 



This research was supported in part by Kyoto University Research Development Program MIGAKI.


The authors declare that no funding source was involved in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maya Yanase
    • 1
  • Genichi Sugihara
    • 1
  • Toshiya Murai
    • 1
  • Shun’ichi Noma
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of MedicineKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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