The utility of the diagnosis of pedophilia: a comparison of various classification procedures

Arch Sex Behav. 2007 Jun;36(3):423-36. doi: 10.1007/s10508-006-9091-x. Epub 2006 Dec 21.


This study examined the utility of the diagnosis of pedophilia in a sample of extra-familial child molesters assessed at a university teaching hospital between 1982 and 1992. Pedophilia was defined in one of four ways: (1) DSM diagnosis made by a psychiatrist; (2) deviant phallometric profile; (3) DSM diagnosis and a deviant phallometric profile; and, (4) high scores based on the Screening Scale for Pedophilic Interest (Seto & Lalumière, 2001). Demographic data, psychological tests, and offence history were obtained and group differences were analyzed along with the ability of certain variables to contribute uniquely to the classification of pedophilia. Results indicated that few significant differences existed on psychological measures between pedophilic and nonpedophilic extra-familial child molesters regardless of the classification system employed. Finally, results indicated that the procedures used to define pedophilia were not significantly related to one another. Results are discussed in terms of the utility of the diagnosis of pedophilia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / classification*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pedophilia / classification*
  • Pedophilia / diagnosis*
  • Plethysmography
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results