Taxometric Analyses of Pedophilia Utilizing Self-Report, Behavioral, and Sexual Arousal Indicators

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Abstract

Pedophilia refers to the recurrent, intense sexual interest in prepubescent children who, by definition, have not developed any secondary sex characteristics. Researchers have begun to investigate whether persons with pedophilia are qualitatively different from those without pedophilia (pedophilia is a taxon) or if people vary in their level of sexual interest toward children (pedophilia is dimensional). Two relatively small studies have previously attempted to address this question, but produced conflicting results. The present study built on these studies with a substantially larger sample of 2,227 men who committed sexual offenses and were assessed at a sexual behavior clinic. The present study also examined a broader range of measures more closely approximating the diagnostic criteria for pedophilic disorder, including phallometric assessment of sexual arousal patterns. The results of 3 taxometric analyses did not find support for the assertion that pedophilia is a taxon.

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