Personality Impairment in Male Pedophiles
J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(10):912-919
© Copyright 2017 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Despite the large body of literature
on the psychological sequelae of childhood sexual abuse, the
literature on the psychopathology of pedophiles is surprisingly
underdeveloped. The present article explores the hypothesis that
pedophiles evidence deficits in interpersonal functioning (lack
of assertiveness and empathy, passive-aggressiveness) and in
self-concept, which might contribute to the motivation for
pedophilic acts, as well as elevated sociopathy, impulsivity, and
propensity for cognitive distortions, which might underlie the
Method: Twenty male heterosexual pedophiles
(DSM-IV criteria) recruited from an outpatient clinic for sex
offenders were compared with 24 demographically similar, healthy
male controls using 3 personality instruments: the Millon
Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-II, the Dimensional Assessment of
Personality Impairment-Questionnaire, and the Temperament and
Results: The data suggested that pedophiles have
impaired interpersonal functioning, specifically, reduced
assertiveness and elevated passive-aggressiveness, as well as
impaired self-concept. Regarding disinhibitory traits, pedophiles
demonstrated elevated sociopathy and propensity for cognitive
Conclusion: Our data are consistent with
previous reports of pathologic personality traits in pedophiles
and lend support to a hypothesis that such pathology is related
to both motivation for and failure to inhibit pedophilic
behavior. Such information could potentially have important