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Klinefelter’s Syndrome and sexual offending: a literature review

O'Donovan, Rebecca; Völlm, Birgit


Rebecca O'Donovan

Birgit Völlm


Background: Klinefelter’s Syndrome is a sex chromosome abnormality affecting approximately 1 in 1000 males. There have been suggestions that it is associated with a higher than average prevalence of sexual offending but to what extent does research evidence support this assertion?
Aims: To conduct a systematic review of published research to establish the prevalence of sexual offending in males with Klinefelter’s Syndrome.
Method: The databases MEDLINE, PsycINFO and EMBASE were searched from inception until 31st December 2016 using a range of terms for Klinefelter’s syndrome and for sexual offending. All selected papers were examined for quality using the STROBE (Strengthening of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) checklist.
Results: We identified 53 relevant papers of which ten met our inclusion criteria. All but one were prevalence studies conducted in a prison or hospital setting. The one, Danish, register based cohort study did suggest an increased risk of sex offending among Klinefelter men, probably established before the diagnosis was made and, therefore, any hormone replacement instituted.
Conclusion: There is insufficient evidence to date to support concerns about exceptional risk of sex offending among men with Klinefelter’s syndrome. Rather, it is arguable that there is a research gap in understanding how the experience of and treatment for their condition may affect them.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health
Print ISSN 0957-9664
Electronic ISSN 1471-2857
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
APA6 Citation O'Donovan, R., & Völlm, B. (in press). Klinefelter’s Syndrome and sexual offending: a literature review. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 28(2),
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: O'Donovan, R., and Völlm, B. (2017) Klinefelter's syndrome and sexual offending – A literature review. Crim Behav Ment Health, doi: 10.1002/cbm.2052 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wi...i/10.1002/cbm.2052/full . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


O'Donavan Vollm Klinefelter CBMH deposited final accepted 10.7.17.pdf (299 Kb)

Copyright Statement
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