Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2009;5:391-407. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.032408.153618.


Pedophilia is defined as a sexual interest in prepubescent children. It is empirically linked with sexual offending against children: Child pornography offenders and sex offenders with child victims are more likely to be pedophiles based on self-report or objective measures of sexual interests. At the same time, some pedophiles have not had any known sexual contact with children, and perhaps half of sex offenders against children would not meet diagnostic criteria for pedophilia. Pedophilia can be diagnosed using a variety of methods and is an important factor to consider in the assessment of sex offenders because pedophilic offenders are more likely to sexually reoffend and require different interventions. There is no evidence to suggest that pedophilia can be changed. Instead, interventions are designed to increase voluntary control over sexual arousal, reduce sex drive, or teach self-management skills to individuals who are motivated to avoid acting upon their sexual interests.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Choice Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pedophilia / physiopathology*
  • Pedophilia / therapy*
  • Penile Erection
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior