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Executive Functioning in Pedophilia and Child Sexual Offending

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2017


Claudia Massau
Affiliation:
Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine, LWL-University Hospital Bochum, Germany Department of Forensic Psychiatry, LVR-Clinics Essen, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Gilian Tenbergen
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany Department of Psychology, SUNY College at Oswego, New York
Christian Kärgel
Affiliation:
Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine, LWL-University Hospital Bochum, Germany Department of Forensic Psychiatry, LVR-Clinics Essen, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Simone Weiß
Affiliation:
Department of Forensic Psychiatry, LVR-Clinics Essen, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Hannah Gerwinn
Affiliation:
Institute of Sexual Medicine and Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Kiel University, Medical School, Kiel, Germany
Alexander Pohl
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
Till Amelung
Affiliation:
Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Sebastian Mohnke
Affiliation:
Charité, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Division for Mind and Brain Research, Campus Mitte, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Jonas Kneer
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
Matthias Wittfoth
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
Inka Ristow
Affiliation:
Clinical Affective Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department for Behavioral Neurology, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
Kolja Schiltz
Affiliation:
Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Psychiatric Hospital of the LMU, München, Germany
Klaus M. Beier
Affiliation:
Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Jorge Ponseti
Affiliation:
Institute of Sexual Medicine and Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Kiel University, Medical School, Kiel, Germany
Martin Walter
Affiliation:
Clinical Affective Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department for Behavioral Neurology, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany Department of Psychiatry, Otto v. Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany
Tillmann H.C. Kruger
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
Henrik Walter
Affiliation:
Charité, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Division for Mind and Brain Research, Campus Mitte, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Boris Schiffer
Affiliation:
Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine, LWL-University Hospital Bochum, Germany Department of Forensic Psychiatry, LVR-Clinics Essen, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Corresponding
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Abstract

Objectives: Pedophilia (P) is a psychiatric disease associated with sexual attraction toward children and often accompanied by child sexual offending (CSO). Consequently, it is important to address the understanding of executive dysfunctions that may increase the probability of CSO. Moreover, this research field has been lacking to disentangle executive deficits associated with pedophilia (as a deviant sexual preference) from those associated with CSO (as a deviant sexual behavior). Methods: The German multi-sided research network NeMUP offers the opportunity to overcome these limitations. By applying the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery in four carefully matched groups of men: (1) pedophiles with (N=45) and (2) without (N=45) a history of sexual offending against children; (3) child molesters without pedophilia (N=19), and (4) non-offending controls (N=49), we were able to analyze executive functioning in pedophilia and CSO independently. Results: Both CSO groups as compared to both non-CSO groups exhibited worsened response inhibition ability. However, only non-pedophilic offenders showed additionally disabled strategy use ability. Regarding set-shifting abilities, the P+CSO group showed the best performance. We also found that performances were affected by age: only in pedophiles, response inhibition worsened with age, while age-related deficits in set-shifting abilities were restricted to non-pedophilic participants. The latter also differentiated between both sexual preference groups. Conclusions: Our results are the first to demonstrate that executive dysfunctions are related to offense status rather than pedophilic preference. Furthermore, there was evidence for differentiating age and performance correlations between pedophiles and non-pedophiles, which warrants further investigation. (JINS, 2017, 23, 460–470)


Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2017 

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Footnotes

*

Authors Massau and Tenbergen contributed equally to this work.


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