How pedophilic men think about adult-child sex: effects of child gender and physical maturity

To date, very little research has tackled whether pedophilic men’s attitude towards adult-child sex depends on characteristics of the adult or the child involved in such acts. This study examines the effect of the child’s gender (male vs. female) and physical maturity (pre-pubescent vs. early pubesc...

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Published in:Psychology, crime & law
Main Author: Jahnke, Sara (Author)
Other Authors: Malón, Agustín (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2019
In:Psychology, crime & law
Year: 2019, Volume: 25, Issue: 1, Pages: 90-107
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:To date, very little research has tackled whether pedophilic men’s attitude towards adult-child sex depends on characteristics of the adult or the child involved in such acts. This study examines the effect of the child’s gender (male vs. female) and physical maturity (pre-pubescent vs. early pubescent) on the moral evaluation of apparently noncoercive adult-child sex in a 2 × 2 factorial online vignette experiment. One hundred eighty-three English-speaking pedophilic men rated their agreement with moral arguments on the Immoral Sex Scale, as well as whether they believed this behavior to be typical for a child. The results revealed considerable inter-individual differences, with about one third showing restrictive moral attitudes. Contrary to our expectations, gender and physical maturity neither affected the perceived morality of the sexual act, nor beliefs about the representativeness of the child’s behavior. However, when controlling for confounds, pedophilic men believed that boys were more likely to willingly engage in adult-child sex. Furthermore, participants with stronger liberal attitudes were found to be more likely to defend the sexual act, as were participants with a preferential interest in pre-pubescents. There was no link between attitudes towards adult-child sex and sexual offending, replicating the non-associations reported in previous community surveys.
ISSN:1477-2744
DOI:10.1080/1068316X.2018.1503665