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Pedophilia is a mental health problem where an adult 16 years of age or older is mainly or only sexually attracted to children who have not begun puberty (that is, sexual maturity).[1][2][3][4][5] The child must be at least 5 years younger than the adult in the case of adolescent (16-20 year old) pedophiles before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia.[1]

Some people with pedophilia have sexual contact with children. This is child sexual abuse because children are not capable of consent. Some adults have pedophilic attraction but do not have sexual contact with children.

Studies show pedophiles who are only attracted to children may abuse more children than pedophiles who also have adult attraction.[6][7]

Adults who abuse children are often known to them, such as parents.[8]  A study found half of adults convicted (found guilty) of child sexual abuse of children outside their families were also sexually abusing their children.[9]

Is it common?[change | change source]

Medical researchers do not know how many people are pedophiles.[10] This is because it is hard to study people's feelings unless they actually show that they have those feelings. Generally, the only pedophiles who can be studied are those who have been caught committing child sexual abuse. According to some studies, about 1% of all adult males may be pedophiles.[11] Another study estimated the percentage of pedophiles to be between 12 and 20 percent.[12]

Treatment[change | change source]

As of 2008, most doctors believe that pedophilia cannot be cured.[13] The current approach to deal with pedophiles is trying to change their behavior, not their attraction. With treatment, it is thought some pedophiles can be stopped from offending again. Medications are used to treat pedophiles.[14]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR PEDOPHILIA" (PDF). APA STATEMENT. American Psychiatric Association. June 17, 2003.
  2. Seto MC.(2009) Pedophilia. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 5:391-407.
  3. Edwards, M. (1997) "Treatment for Paedophiles; Treatment for Sex Offenders." Paedophile Policy and Prevention, Australian Institute of Criminology Research and Public Policy Series (12), 74-75.
  4. Blaney, Paul H.; Millon, Theodore (2009 ). Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology (Oxford Series in Clinical Psychology) (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 528. ISBN 0-19-537421-5 . "Some cases of child molestation, especially those involving incest, are committed in the absence of any identifiable deviant erotic age preference."
  5. Studer Lea H., Aylwin A. Scott (2006). "Pedophilia: The problem with diagnosis and limitations of CBT in treatment". Medical Hypotheses 67 (4): 774–781. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.04.030 . PMID 16766133 .
  6. Abel, G. G., Mittleman, M. S., & Becker, J. V. (1985). "Sex offenders: Results of assessment and recommendations for treatment." In M. H. Ben-Aron, S. J. Hucker, & C. D. Webster (Eds.), Clinical criminology: The assessment and treatment of criminal behavior (pp. 207-220). Toronto, Canada: M & M Graphics.
  7. Linda S. Grossman, Ph.D., Brian Martis, M.D. and Christopher G. Fichtner, M.D. (1999). Are Sex Offenders Treatable? A Research Overview. 50. pp. 349–361work=Psychiatr Serv. PMID 10096639 .
  8. Lanning, Kenneth (2001). "Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis (Third Edition)" (PDF). National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. pp. p25, 27, 29.
  9. M. GLASSER, FRCPsych and I. KOLVIN, FRCPsych (2001). "Cycle of child sexual abuse: links between being a victim and becoming a perpetrator". British Journal of Psychiatry.;179/6/482.
  10. Seto, M. C. (2004). "Pedophilia and Sexual Offenses Against Children," Annual Review of Sex Research, 15, 329-369.
  11. Briere, J., & Runtz, M. (1989). University males’ sexual interest in children: Predicting potential indices of "pedophilia" in a non-forensic sample. Child Abuse & Neglect: The international Journal, 13, 65–75
  12. H. Zonana, G. Abel (1999): Dangerous sex offenders. A task force report of the American Psychiatric Association – Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association
  13. "Treatments to Change Sexual Orientation - BERLIN 157 (5): 838 - Am J Psychiatry".
  14. Public Policy