[Skip to Navigation]
September 1936

Prostitution: An Investigation of Its Causes, Especially with Regard to Hereditary Factors.

Arch NeurPsych. 1936;36(3):674. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1936.02260090227021

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Kemp has studied medically and psychiatrically five hundred and thirty prostitutes in Copenhagen during the years 1931 to 1935. About 45 per cent were slightly or definitely retarded intellectually; 7 per cent were slightly feebleminded; 22 per cent were classified as suffering from psychopathy and 8 per cent as suffering from some other mental disease. Alcoholism, criminality, suicide, oligophrenia, psychopathy or some other mental disease was a feature in the history of at least one relative of 65 per cent of the prostitutes. The importance of these features as hereditary factors is questionable. The early environment of the subjects was found to be poor in two thirds of the cases. A variety of conditions are said to have precipitated the adoption of the rôle of a prostitute, such as unfavorable influence by other members of the family or by pimps, bad working conditions and poverty.

Kemp concludes that imprisonment and

Add or change institution