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"Gold-star" pedophiles in general sex therapy practice

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... Labels and their connotations can activate stereotypes, attitudes, and emotions, which has implications for social judgments, empathy, and intergroup behavior (see Kawakami et al., 2017 for an integrative discussion of the consequences of social categorization). Despite common misperceptions, people who are sexually attracted to children can live offense-free (Cantor, 2014;Cantor & McPhail, 2016), and more than half of the people who commit sexual offenses against children are primarily sexually attracted to adults (Schmidt et al., 2013;Seto, 2018). Nevertheless, people who are sexually attracted to children face a harsh stigma, even when they abide by the law (Jahnke et al., 2015a(Jahnke et al., , 2015bLehmann et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
The primary label for people who are sexually attracted to children (“pedophile”) is conflated with sexual offending behavior and tainted with stigma. In the present pre-registered mixed-method study, we therefore investigated attitudes and preferences regarding "pedophile/hebephile" and other labels among 286 people who report a stronger or equally strong sexual attraction to prepubescent and pubescent children than to adults. Overall, quantitative data showed acceptance of “pedophile/hebephile” as well as a range of alternative labels in a personal (Labeling Oneself) and a professional context (Being Labeled by Others). “Minor-attracted person” and “pedophile/hebephile” received generally higher support than other terms and appeared to be least divisive across three major online fora. Qualitative data revealed four themes: “Contested self-labels,” “Person-first language and pathologizing sexuality/identity,” “Stigma and shame,” and “Reclaiming the pedophile label.” Our results allow deeper insight into reasons for adopting certain labels over others, as well as difficulties of finding a non-stigmatizing label. We discuss limitations of the study and practical implications for clinical and research contexts.
... Labels and their connotations can activate stereotypes, attitudes, and emotions, which has implications for social judgements, empathy, and intergroup behavior (see Kawakami et al., 2017 for an integrative discussion of the consequences of social categorization). Despite common misperceptions, people who are sexually attracted to children can live offense-free (Cantor, 2014;Cantor & McPhail, 2016), and more than half of the people who commit sexual offenses against children are primarily sexually attracted to adults (Schmidt et al., 2013;Seto, 2018). Nevertheless, people who are sexually attracted to children face a harsh stigma, even when they abide by the law (Jahnke, Imhoff, et al., 2015;Lehmann et al., 2020). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The primary label for people who are sexually attracted to children (“pedophile”) is conflated with sexual offending behavior and tainted with stigma. In the present pre-registered mixed-method study, we therefore investigated attitudes and preferences regarding "pedophile/hebephile" and other labels among 286 people who report a stronger or equally strong sexual attraction to prepubescent and pubescent children than to adults. Overall, quantitative data shows acceptance of “pedophile/hebephile” as well as a range of alternative labels in a personal (Labelling Oneself) and a professional context (Being Labeled by Others). “Minor-attracted person” and “pedophile/hebephile” received generally higher support than other terms and appeared to be least divisive across three major online fora. Qualitative data revealed four themes: “Contested self-labels”, “Person-first language and pathologizing sexuality/identity”, “Stigma and shame”, and “Reclaiming the pedophile label.” Our results allow deeper insight into reasons for adopting certain labels over others, as well as difficulties of finding a non-stigmatizing label. We discuss limitations of the study and practical implications for clinical and research contexts.
... Such cognitions may subsequently lead to thought and identity suppression (Lievesley et al., 2020), with such active attempts at concealing one's identity being associated with a host of negative downstream effects for mental health. These issues are important as they have significant implications for public health from both a mental wellbeing and child abuse prevention perspective (Cantor, 2014;Cantor & McPhail, 2016;Lievesley & Harper, 2019). From a wellbeing perspective, people with sexual interests in children have reported that professionals working with them appear to focus more on risk reduction (e.g., controlling sexual urges), despite them preferring to be supported in relation to the more general psychological wellbeing issues mentioned above (B4U-ACT, 2011; Blagden et al., 2018). ...
Article
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The stigmatization of people with pedophilic sexual interests is the topic of growing academic and professional consideration, owing to its potential role in moderating pedophiles' emotional wellbeing, and motivation and engagement in child abuse prevention schemes. Thus, improving attitudes and reducing stigmatization toward this group is of paramount importance. Prior research has suggested that narrative humanization-presenting personal stories of self-identified non-offending pedophiles-could be one route to doing this. However, this work has only been conducted with students or trainee psychotherapists, meaning the public generalizability of this method is still unknown. In this study, we compared two stigma interventions to test whether narratives reduce stigma toward people with pedophilic interests more effectively than an informative alternative (scientific information about pedophilia). Using a longitudinal experimental design with a lack of non-intervention control (initial N = 950; final N = 539), we found that narratives had consistently positive effects on all measured aspects of stigmatization (dangerousness, intentionality), whereas an informative alternative had mixed results, and actually increased perceptions of pedophiles' levels of deviance. These effects were also still present four months after the initial presentation. We discuss these data in relation to ongoing debates about treating pedophilia as a public health issue requiring a broad societal approach to wellbeing and child abuse prevention.
... While these perceptions may read like paranoid expectations among a stigmatised population, there is some evidence to suggest they are accurate. For example, in a German sample of trained psychotherapists, upwards of 95% of participants suggested that they would be unwilling to work with this population in a therapeutic setting (Stiels-Glenn, 2010; see also Cantor, 2014). There were several reasons for this lack of willingness. ...
Article
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The prevention of sexual abuse among people with sexual attractions to minors is a field of study that is growing in both size and importance. While there is an increasing amount of research into this topic, particularly in relation to the stigmatisation of minor-attracted persons (MAPs) and the barriers to them seeking help, there is currently no theoretical framework within which to consider this prevention landscape. In this paper, we suggest that an extension of Göbbels, Ward, and Willis’ integrative theory of desistance from sexual offending could fill this gap in the literature. We explore what the aims of “prevention” initiatives could, or perhaps should, be, before exploring how an extension and adaptation of the desistance framework could provide a framework for working with MAPs in their journey for sound mental health and, ultimately, the prevention of sexual offending.
... Literature pertaining to how individuals with sexual interest in children cope with the effects of stigma was beyond the scope of this review. We encourage future research to take stock of the humanitarian focus centering on how people with these sexual interests manage to live fruitful and offense-free lives, while coping with the stigma of their sexual interest (Cantor, 2014). ...
Article
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The stigmatization of people with pedophilia was previously identified as a “blind spot” in stigma research. This systematic review updates and expands on Jahnke and Hoyer’s 2013 review to understand (1) factors contributing to stigma toward people with sexual interest in children, (2) experiences of stigma, and (3) how stigma can be challenged and reduced. Thematic synthesis was used to analyze data from 35 studies from the United Kingdom, United States, The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand. Overarching themes were (1) misperceptions and stereotypes, (2) negative affective responses, (3) discrimination, (4) mental distress, (5) internalized public stigma, (6) negative effects of disclosure, and (7 and 8) informative and humanizing interventions. Findings highlighted substantial prevalence of stigma toward and amongst people with sexual interest in children, and methodological limitations of extant research. An agenda for future research is discussed, emphasizing how stigma can be challenged.
... Die fehlende Passung zwischen Behandlungsansätzen und dem Leidensdruck der Betroffenen dürfte die Erfolgsaussichten von Therapiemassnahmen erheblich schwächen. Als zielführend wird es in diesem Zusammenhang erachtet, die von der Klientschaft selbst als problematisch wahrgenommenen Aspekte des Lebensalltags und ihrer Sexualität in den Vordergrund der therapeutischen Bemühungen zu stellen und den Betroffenen dabei helfen zu können, mit dem Stigma ihrer sexuellen Identität leben zu lernen (Cantor, 2014;Jahnke, 2018; Präventionsangebote für Personen mit sexuellen Ergebnisse Interessen an Kindern und ihre Wirkung 61 Schwarze & Hahn, 2016). Als Voraussetzung für ein Abrücken von reiner Risikofokussierung wird ein Abbau von Vorurteilen angesehen. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Technical report for the Swiss government on "Secondary prevention offers and their effectiveness for individuals with sexual interest in children". The report is written in German but contains extended summaries in English, French, and Italian languages. For more information refer to: https://www.admin.ch/gov/de/start/dokumentation/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-80366.html
... Die fehlende Passung zwischen Behandlungsansätzen und dem Leidensdruck der Betroffenen dürfte die Erfolgsaussichten von Therapiemassnahmen erheblich schwächen. Als zielführend wird es in diesem Zusammenhang erachtet, die von der Klientschaft selbst als problematisch wahrgenommenen Aspekte des Lebensalltags und ihrer Sexualität in den Vordergrund der therapeutischen Bemühungen zu stellen und den Betroffenen dabei helfen zu können, mit dem Stigma ihrer sexuellen Identität leben zu lernen (Cantor, 2014;Jahnke, 2018; Präventionsangebote für Personen mit sexuellen Ergebnisse Interessen an Kindern und ihre Wirkung 61 Schwarze & Hahn, 2016). Als Voraussetzung für ein Abrücken von reiner Risikofokussierung wird ein Abbau von Vorurteilen angesehen. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Technical report for the Swiss government on "Secondary prevention offers and their effectiveness for individuals with sexual interest in children". The report is written in German but contains extended summaries in English, French, and Italian languages. For more information refer to: https://www.admin.ch/gov/de/start/dokumentation/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-80366.html
... Die fehlende Passung zwischen Behandlungsansätzen und dem Leidensdruck der Betroffenen dürfte die Erfolgsaussichten von Therapiemassnahmen erheblich schwächen. Als zielführend wird es in diesem Zusammenhang erachtet, die von der Klientschaft selbst als problematisch wahrgenommenen Aspekte des Lebensalltags und ihrer Sexualität in den Vordergrund der therapeutischen Bemühungen zu stellen und den Betroffenen dabei helfen zu können, mit dem Stigma ihrer sexuellen Identität leben zu lernen (Cantor, 2014;Jahnke, 2018; Präventionsangebote für Personen mit sexuellen Ergebnisse Interessen an Kindern und ihre Wirkung 61 Schwarze & Hahn, 2016). Als Voraussetzung für ein Abrücken von reiner Risikofokussierung wird ein Abbau von Vorurteilen angesehen. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Technical report for the Swiss government on "Secondary prevention offers and their effectiveness for individuals with sexual interest in children". The report is written in German but contains extended summaries in English, French, and Italian languages. For more information refer to: https://www.admin.ch/gov/de/start/dokumentation/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-80366.html
Preprint
Emerging research has examined the experiences of individuals who are sexually attracted to children and adolescents, also termed minor attraction. Minor-attracted person is a self-referential term, used to describe an individual who is sexually attracted to individuals under the age of consent, which varies by legal system. This study collected both quantitative and qualitative data from minor-attracted persons (n = 116). Several analyses were used to assess whether the sample characteristics support Seto’s (2012) conceptualization of pedophilia as a sexual orientation. The three developmental characteristics of gender-based sexual orientation were explored with respect to data. Expected patterns with relation to age of onset, expressions of both sexual and romantic attractions, and stability of such attraction over time were found. As noted by Seto, there are clear clinical, and potential legal, implications associated with the shift in the conceptualization of sexual attraction to children and adolescents. Such attempts to shift have been met with hostility thus far; despite this hostility, the findings indicate that age sexual orientation closely mirrors the developmental trajectory of gender sexual orientation, as outlined by Seto.
Thesis
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Existing literature suggests that a variety of biopsychosocial factors may be related to sexual attraction to children, but why some individuals successfully refrain from offending remains largely unknown. Emerging research has examined the experiences of child-attracted persons. Child attracted person is a modified version of the self-referential term minor-attracted person, used to describe an individual who is sexually attracted to individuals under the legal age of consent, which varies by legal system. This research program used a multimethod approach to explore heterogeneity among child-attracted persons. First, quantitative data were collected from 116 self-identified child-attracted persons and 208 university students. Participants completed an online survey of 11 self-report measures, assessing a variety of factors that have been found to be related to sexual offending, such as emotional congruence, sexual narcissism, negative affect scales, and personality. Comparative analyses indicated many similarities between the samples, although there were several key differences. A latent profile analysis indicated that a four-profile model best fit the data. The child-attracted profiles were labelled socially energized, psychologically distressed, interpersonally problematic, and childhood focused. Although the profiles differed with respect to key resiliency factors, they did not differ in terms of most demographic characteristics. Second, qualitative data were collected from 23 self-identified child-attracted persons in the form of semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data uncovered several key themes across the interviews, including understanding attraction to children as a sexual orientation; how such attractions are viewed and treated societally; engagement in sexuality; mental health concerns and associated therapy services; and the overall impact of the attraction. Finally, several measures related to attraction to children were modified and analyzed for statistical reliability. Taken together, the findings of this research program support the presence of heterogeneity among the child-attracted community. This supports the necessity to develop assessment and treatment options that incorporate such differences. Further, the findings of the research program, and other emerging research exploring sexual attraction to children, suggest serious negative mental health outcomes associated with identifying as attracted to children and with the associated stigma, often beginning in adolescence. These findings underscore the need to continue to pursue research in this area and develop further understandings of sexual attraction to children and related outcomes.
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