Heraclitus’ River and Recent Advances in Criminal Psychology…


Research
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Date: January 13, 2020

01) Heraclitus’ River and Recent Advances in Criminal Psychology

“Among the most widespread misconceptions about sexual offending is the idea that every individual with pedophilic sexual interests is a child sexual abuser and every child sexual abuser is someone exhibiting pedophilic sexual preferences. In fact, less than 40% of sexual offenders against children can be considered to exhibit actual pedophilic preferences (e.g., Schmidt, Mokros, & Banse, 2013; Seto, 2009). Historically, most research on sexual interest in children has been based on convicted child sexual abusers, which may have biased these estimates – potentially many non-offending individuals with pedophilic preferences could be living their lives with no need of concern from the criminal justice system. Only recently, research has turned to individuals with pedophilic interest from non-forensic community populations (e.g., Cantor & McPhail, 2016; Dombert et al., 2016). Based on the abovementioned stereotype, men with pedophilic sexual interests are among the most stigmatized group in the field of mental disorders (Jahnke, Imhoff, & Hoyer, 2015). Specifically, stigmatization of men with pedophilic sexual interests is probably the only stigma in the field of stigma research that is regarded as socially desirable behavior (Imhoff, 2015). In the present Special Section, Jahnke (2018) gives a thoughtful overview on the counterintuitive repercussions that are linked to stigmatization of individuals with sexual interest in children and their perception of stigmatization stress. Jahnke’s intriguing focal idea is based on the notion that stigmatization stress is indirectly linked to increased risk of future child sexual abuse. So, people who stigmatize pedophilic sexual interest, equating it with child sexual abuse, run the risk of creating the very outcomes they profess to condemn.”

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