Klinefelter's syndrome and sexual offending - A literature review

Crim Behav Ment Health. 2018 Apr;28(2):132-140. doi: 10.1002/cbm.2052. Epub 2017 Aug 7.


Background: Klinefelter's syndrome is a sex chromosome abnormality affecting approximately 1 in 1000 men. 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: This study aimed to conduct a systematic review of published research to establish the prevalence of sexual offending in men with Klinefelter's syndrome.

Method: The databases MEDLINE, PsycINFO and EMBASE were searched from inception until 31 December 2016 by using a range of terms for Klinefelter's syndrome and for sexual offending. All selected papers were examined for quality by using the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology checklist.

Results: We identified 53 relevant papers of which 10 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. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Klinefelter Syndrome / psychology*
  • Male
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*