Family Dysfunction Models of Etiology

Other etiological theories, while not based specifically in psychoanalytic thought, view paraphilias as developing out of adverse early life experience and dysfunctional family processes. Studies have found varying degrees of association between the childhood experiences such as emotional and sexual abuse, family dysfunction, behavior problems, and the paraphilias. In a recent study, childhood sexual abuse was determined to be a specific developmental risk factor for pedophilia, whereas emotional abuse and other adverse experiences were found to be general risk factors for the paraphilias (83). Other studies have contradicted this finding (84-86). However, most have concluded that, at the least, adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of developing pedophilia (83,87-91). In particular, based on the higher rates of sexual abuse in the life histories of many, although not all, individuals with pedophilia, sexual abuse is now widely recognized as a risk factor in the development of pedophilia (89,92,93). Berlin has observed that of the females diagnosed with pedophilia in his clinic over the past 15 years, all reported histories of childhood sexual abuse, leading him to conclude that childhood sexual abuse may play a particularly significant role in the development of pedophilia in females (F. Berlin, personal communication, 2003).

A recent study of the perceptions of sexual offenders found a significant positive association between child sex offending and offender self-reports of childhood neglect and abuse, including sexual abuse and early exposure to sexually deviant behavior (94). As in many studies, the sample population was described in nonspecific categorical language such as "child molesters," leaving ambiguity regarding how many of the offenders were pedophilic. Nevertheless, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that negative early interpersonal experiences may play a contributing role in the development of problematic adult sexuality, including pedophilia.

A study of five adolescent males who practiced autoerotic asphyxia revealed early histories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and, more specifically, choking in each of the five boys. The investigators hypothesized that choking had become paired with sexual arousal and that the pairing, along with the abusive early experiences, were etiologically relevant to the development of a paraphilia in four of the five boys (95).

0 0

Post a comment