Menstrual cycles and criminal responsibility

Julie Horney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Since at least the turn of the century, there have been reports indicating that women have an increased tendency toward criminal behavior during certain phases of the menstrual cycle. Recently these reports have served as the basis for a proposal to expand the insanity defense to recognize the impact of menstrual cycles in diminishing criminal responsibility. This paper reviews the empirical literature on the link between menstruation and crime and raises several critical questions regarding interpretation of this data. In light of these questions it is suggested that at this time an insanity defense based on menstrual symptomology would be inappropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-36
Number of pages12
JournalLaw and human behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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