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Contrary to public perception, child sex offending (CSO) and paedophilia are not the same. Only half of all cases of CSO are motivated by paedophilic preference, and a paedophilic preference does not necessarily lead to CSO. However, studies that investigated clinical factors accompanying and contributing to paedophilia so far mainly relied on paedophiles with a history of CSO. The aim of this study was to distinguish between factors associated with sexual preference (paedophile versus non-paedophile) and offender status (with versus without CSO). Accordingly, a 2 (sexual preference) × 2 (offender status) factorial design was used for a comprehensive clinical assessment of paedophiles with and without a history of CSO (n = 83, n = 79 respectively), child sex offenders without paedophilia (n = 32) and healthy controls (n = 148). Results indicated that psychiatric comorbidities, sexual dysfunctions and adverse childhood experiences were more common among paedophiles and child sex offenders than controls. Offenders and non-offenders differed in age, intelligence, educational level and experience of childhood sexual abuse, whereas paedophiles and non-paedophiles mainly differed in sexual characteristics (e.g., additional paraphilias, onset and current level of sexual activity). Regression analyses were more powerful in segregating offender status than sexual preference (mean classification accuracy: 76% versus 68%). In differentiating between offence- and preference-related factors this study improves clinical understanding of both phenomena and may be used to develop scientifically grounded CSO prevention and treatment programmes. It also highlights that some deviations are not traceable to just one of these two factors, thus raising the issue of the mechanism underlying both phenomena.
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)
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