Dr. James M. Cantor

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Peer-Reviewed Research Articles Providing Data on Hebephilia (19722010)


The DSM-5 revisions committee recently proposed subdividing the erotic preference for children into two subtypes: Whereas the current (DSM-IV-TR) definition refers to the sexual interest in children “generally ages 13 and under,” the new version would divide it into the sexual interest in children under 11 (still called pedophilia) and the sexual interest in children 11 to 14 (called hebephilia).  This would update the DSM, bringing it back into line with the preponderance of current research data.


After the DSM committee (technically, the “DSM Subworkgroup for Paraphilias”) released their proposal, I began receiving requests and questions about the status of the research literature on the topic.  Below is an exhaustive list of the peer-reviewed empirical articles on hebephilia—At least, if anyone runs into an article I missed, do please email me.  Not included on the list are non-reviewed or non-empirical works: letters to editors, dissertations, commentaries, etc.  I have also compiled a listing of 100 texts that include hebephilia.

James Cantor

25 May 2011



I appear to have missed Sample and Bray (2006), which I have now added.

James Cantor

28 December 2011





Alford, G. S., Morin, C., Atkins, M., & Schoen, L. (1987). Masturbatory extinction of deviant sexual arousal: A case study. Behavior Therapy, 18, 265–271.

Describes the treatment of a 27-yr-old male heterosexual who exhibited strong sexual arousal to pedophilic and hebephilic, as well as adult female sexual stimuli. Treatment involved repeated presentation of examples of deviant sexual stimuli in the absence of high-level sexual excitation and orgasm and a classical conditioning/extinction procedure termed masturbatory extinction. Across 40 treatment sessions, sexual arousal diminished markedly in response to both pedophilic and hebephilic sexual stimuli.

Baxter, D. J., Marhsall, W. L., Barbaree, H. E., Davidson, P. R., & Malcolm, P. B. (1984). Deviant sexual behavior: Differentiating sex offenders by criminal and personal history, psychometric measures, and sexual response. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 11, 477–501.

Examined criminal records, personal history, social-sexual competence, and physiological responses to erotic stimuli in 75 rapists (mean age 27.8 yrs), 24 “hebephiles” (sexual offenders of teenagers [mean age 31 yrs]), 15 heterosexual pedophiles (mean age 34.0 yrs), and 14 homosexual pedophiles (mean age 34.2 yrs); all Ss were incarcerated males. Data show that there were significant differences among groups in criminal and personal background. Pedophiles tended to be older, more poorly educated, more likely to be unmarried, and less frequently involved in nonsexual crime. Social and social-sexual inadequacy was common to all groups and reflected in underassertiveness, low self-esteem, and negative sexual attitudes. Rapists and hebephiles both responded maximally to adults as sexual partners and responded more to cues for consensual sex than to cues for rape. Results suggest that deviant sexual arousal is a factor in deviant sexual behavior only in the case of pedophiles.

Beier, K. M., Ahlers, C. J., Goecker, D., Neutze, J., Mundt, I. A., Hupp, E., & Schaefer, G. A. (2009). Can pedophiles be reached for primary prevention of child sexual abuse? First results of the Berlin Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 20, 851–867.

The Berlin Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD) aims to prevent child sexual abuse (CSA) by targeting men who fear they may sexually abuse children, and who seek help without being mandated to do so. This article aims to demonstrate that a pedophilic or hebephilic sexual preference is very common among these men, to show how these men can be reached, and to document their determination to find help. The target group was informed of the project and encouraged to respond via a media campaign. A telephone screening was conducted over the first 18 months. Of the 286 who completed the screening (60.1% of the respondents), 84.3% (N = 241) were interviewed by a clinician. Of the interviewees, 57.7% (N = 139) and 27.8% (N = 67) expressed a sexual preference for prepubescent and pubescent minors, respectively, and 10.8% (N = 26) for mature adults. The remaining 3.7% (N = 9) could not be reliably categorized. As (potential) child molesters with a respective sexual preference can be reached via a media campaign, efforts to prevent CSA ought to be expanded to target this group.

Beier, K. M., Neutze, J., Mundt, I. A., Ahlers, C. J., Goecker, D., Konrad, A., & Schaefer, G. A. (2009). Encouraging self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles to seek professional help: first results of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 545–549.

Two main assumptions guided the methodology of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD), which was approved by health professionals and jurists belonging to the appropriate Institutional Review Board (body of university clinic): (1) a media campaign may successfully reach self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles in the community, and (2) these individuals are interested in participating in further diagnostics. Respondents to the media campaign were able to contact the research team anonymously (e.g., telephone), and staff was specifically trained for building a trustworthy and empathic relationship during initial contact. In the 38 months after the project’s official launch, a total of 808 respondents contacted the research office inquiring about the project and stating an interest in participating. About 45% (N = 358) of the respondents travelled to the outpatient clinic for full assessment. Results show that during the first 3 years of the project a notable proportion of men admit to being attracted to minors and could be successfully reached via a media campaign. However, up to 45% of the present sample of self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles could be encouraged to participate in clinical diagnostics, even though they were not mandated to seek treatment. The majority of these men (66%) indeed met the diagnostic criteria of pedophilia and/or hebephilia. Interestingly, approximately half the interviewees had made prior efforts to get professional help, and some had travelled a long distance to take part in the project, suggesting greater distress. Further research is needed on what predicts the motivation of responders, interviewees, participants in treatment, and treatment outcome, in order to ascertain the extent to which facilities providing treatment will be successful.

Blanchard, R., & Barbaree, H. E. (2005). The strength of sexual arousal as a function of the age of the sex offender: Comparisons among pedophiles, hebephiles, and teleiophiles. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research & Treatment, 17, 441–456.

Previous research has shown that sexual arousability in human males declines from its peak in early adolescence until old age. This study compared the rates of decline in three groups of males: those most attracted sexually to prepubescent children (pedophiles), those most attracted to pubescent children (hebephiles), and those most attracted to physically mature persons (teleiophiles). The participants were 2,028 patients referred to Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health from 1995 to 2004 for evaluation of criminal or otherwise disturbing sexual behavior, but not for erectile or ejaculatory problems. All underwent phallometric assessment for erotic age-preference. This is a psychophysiological technique in which an individual’s penile blood volume is monitored while he is presented with a standardized set of laboratory stimuli depicting male and female children, pubescents, and adults. The experimental measure of sexual arousability was the average of the participant’s three greatest penile responses to any stimulus category, expressed in cubic cm of blood volume increase. The results showed that sexual arousability was an inverse function of age, and that there were no differences between the pedophiles, hebephiles, and teleiophiles in the rate at which arousability declined.

Blanchard, R., & Dickey, R. (1998). Pubertal age in homosexual and heterosexual sexual offenders against children, pubescents, and adults. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 10, 273–282.

Previous studies (e.g., K. Starke, 1994) have shown that homosexual men erotically attracted to physically mature partners (androphiles) reach puberty earlier, on average, than comparable heterosexual men. This study investigated whether the same early onset of puberty is observed in homosexual men attracted to children (pedophiles) or to pubescents (hebephiles). Ss were 721 White, male, convicted sexual offenders, originally part of a large-scale study of sexual offending. The 157 homosexual offenders against adults reached puberty earlier than the 176 heterosexual offenders against adults, and the 69 homosexual offenders against pubescents reached puberty earlier than the 130 heterosexual offenders against pubescents. In contrast, there was no difference between the 46 homosexual and the 143 heterosexual offenders against children on this variable. Results suggest that homosexual hebephilia has more etiological factors in common with androphilia than does homosexual pedophilia.

Blanchard, R., Kolla, N. J., Cantor, J. M., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., Kuban, M. E., & Blak, T. (2007). IQ, handedness, and pedophilia in adult male patients stratified by referral source. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 19, 285–309.

This study investigated whether the previously observed association of pedophilia with lower IQs is an artifact of heterogeneity in referral source. The subjects were 832 adult male patients referred to a specialty clinic for evaluation of their sexual behavior. The patients’ erotic preferences for prepubescent, pubescent, or adult partners were assessed with phallometric testing. Full scale IQ was estimated using six subtests from the WAIS-R. The results showed that the relations between pedophilia and lower IQ, lesser education, and increased rates of non-righthandedness were the same in homogeneous groups referred by lawyers or parole and probation officers as they were in a heterogeneous group referred by a miscellany of other sources. Those results, along with secondary analyses in the study, supported the conclusion that the relation between pedophilia and cognitive function is genuine and not artifactual. The findings were interpreted as evidence for the hypothesis that neurodevelopmental perturbations increase the risk of pedophilia in males.

Blanchard, R., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., & Cantor, J. M. (in press). Sexual attraction to others: A comparison of two models of alloerotic responding in men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. DOI 10.1007/s10508-010-9675-3

The penile response profiles of homosexual and heterosexual pedophiles, hebephiles, and teleiophiles to laboratory stimuli depicting male and female children and adults may be conceptualized as a series of overlapping stimulus generalization gradients. This study used such profile data to compare two models of alloerotic responding (sexual responding to other people) in men. The first model was based on the notion that men respond to a potential sexual object as a compound stimulus made up of an age component and a gender component. The second model was based on the notion that men respond to a potential sexual object as a gestalt, which they evaluate in terms of global similarity to other potential sexual objects. The analytic strategy was to compare the accuracy of these models in predicting a man’s penile response to each of his less arousing (nonpreferred) stimulus categories from his response to his most arousing (preferred) stimulus category. Both models based their predictions on the degree of dissimilarity between the preferred stimulus category and a given nonpreferred stimulus category, but each model used its own measure of dissimilarity. According to the first model (‘‘summation model’’), penile response should vary inversely as the sum of stimulus differences on separate dimensions of age and gender. According to the second model (‘‘bipolar model’’), penile response should vary inversely as the distance between stimulus categories on a single, bipolar dimension of morphological similarity—a dimension on which children are located near the middle, and adult men and women are located at opposite ends. The subjects were 2,278 male patients referred to a specialty clinic for phallometric assessment of their erotic preferences. Comparisons of goodness of fit to the observed data favored the unidimensional bipolar model.

Blanchard, R., Kuban, M. E., Klassen, P., Dickey, R., Christensen, B. K., Cantor, J. M., & Blak, R. (2003). Self-reported head injuries before and after age 13 in pedophilic and nonpedophilic men referred for clinical assessment. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 573–581.

Previous research has found that pedophilic men referred for clinical assessment of their sexual behavior are more likely to report that they suffered head injuries before their 13th birthday than are nonpedophilic men referred for the same purpose. This study investigated whether pedophilic patients are also more likely to report head injuries after their 13th birthday. The 685 participants represented all patients with usable data from a consecutive series of men referred to a clinical laboratory specializing in phallometric assessment of erotic preferences. In addition to phallometric testing, participants were administered a brief neuropsychological test battery and a companion interview, which included questions on head injury, drug abuse, and childhood diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The results showed that the pedophilic patients reported more head injuries before age 13 than did the nonpedophilic patients, but they did not report more head injuries after age 13. The association between pedophilia and childhood head injuries could mean either that subtle brain damage after birth increases a boy’s risk of pedophilia, or that neurodevelopmental problems before birth increase a boy’s accident-proneness along with his risk of pedophilia. Additional analyses showed that self-reported head injuries before age 13 were associated with attentional problems and with left-handedness; in contrast, head injuries after age 13 were associated with drug abuse and promiscuity. These analyses suggest that, among patients with primary presenting complaints of sexual rather than cognitive problems, childhood head injuries cluster with neuropsychological phenomena, whereas later head injuries cluster with lifestyle variables.

Blanchard, R., Lykins, A. D., Wherrett, D., Kuban, M. E., Cantor, J. M., Blak, T., Dickey, R., & Klassen, P. E. (2009). Pedophilia, hebephilia, and the DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 335–350.

The term pedophilia denotes the erotic preference for prepubescent children. The term hebephilia has been proposed to denote the erotic preference for pubescent children (roughly, ages 11 or 12-14), but it has not become widely used. The present study sought to validate the concept of hebephilia by examining the agreement between self-reported sexual interests and objectively recorded penile responses in the laboratory. The participants were 881 men who were referred for clinical assessment because of paraphilic, criminal, or otherwise problematic sexual behavior. Within-group comparisons showed that men who verbally reported maximum sexual attraction to pubescent children had greater penile responses to depictions of pubescent children than to depictions of younger or older persons. Between-groups comparisons showed that penile responding distinguished such men from those who reported maximum attraction to prepubescent children and from those who reported maximum attraction to fully grown persons. These results indicated that hebephilia exists as a discriminable erotic age-preference. The authors recommend various ways in which the DSM might be altered to accommodate the present findings. One possibility would be to replace the diagnosis of Pedophilia with Pedohebephilia and allow the clinician to specify one of three subtypes: Sexually Attracted to Children Younger than 11 (Pedophilic Type), Sexually Attracted to Children Age 11-14 (Hebephilic Type), or Sexually Attracted to Both (Pedohebephilic Type). We further recommend that the DSM-V encourage users to record the typical age of children who most attract the patient sexually as well as the gender of children who most attract the patient sexually.

Brown, A. S., Gray, N. S., & Snowden, R. J. (2009). Implicit measurement of sexual associations in child sex abusers: Role of victim type and denial. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research & Treatment, 21, 166–180.

The Implicit Association Test was used to measure cognitive associations between children and sex in men convicted of child-sex offences. It was hypothesized that these cognitions would be different in pedophilic-type offenders (defined by having a victim aged less than 12 years) and hebephilic-type offenders (only victims aged 12 to 15 years) such that only the pedophilic-type offenders would have an implicit association between children and sex. This was confirmed. It was also hypothesized that this association between children and sex in the pedophilic-type offenders would be present irrespective of their denial of offence history. This was also confirmed. These results demonstrate differences in the cognitive associations between children and sex held by subgroups of child-sex abusers, and they help establish the Implicit Association Test as an indirect means to assess cognitive factors related to sexual offences.

Cantor, J. M., Blanchard, R., Christensen, B. K., Dickey, R., Klassen, P. E., Beckstead, A. L., Blak, T., & Kuban, M. E. (2004). Intelligence, memory, and handedness in pedophilia. Neuropsychology, 18, 3–14.

A sample of 473 male patients with pedophilia (assessed by the patients’ sexual history and penile response in the laboratory to standardized, erotic stimuli) or other problematic sexual interests or behaviors received brief neuropsychological assessments. Neuropsychological measures included a short form of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised (D. Wechsler, 1981), the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test—Revised (R. H. B. Benedict, D. Schretlen, L. Groninger, & J. Brandt, 1998), the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test—Revised (R. H. B. Benedict, 1997), and the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory (S. M. Williams, 1986). Pedophilia showed significant negative correlations with IQ and immediate and delayed recall memory. Pedophilia was also related to non-right-handedness even after covarying age and IQ. These results suggest that pedophilia is linked to early neurodevelopmental perturbations.

Cantor, J. M., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., Christensen, B. K., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., Williams, N. S., & Blanchard, R. (2005). Handedness in pedophilia and hebephilia. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 447–459.

A sample of 404 adult men underwent assessment following illegal or clinically significant sexual behaviors or interests. Patients’ assessments included: administration of a modified version of the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory; recording of patients’ phallometric (penile) responses to erotic stimuli depicting adults, pubescent children, and prepubescent children of both sexes; and a tabulation of the numbers of patients’ victims, ages 0-11, 12-14, 15-16, and 17 and older, of both sexes. In Study 1, patients’ right-handedness scores correlated negatively with their phallometric responses to stimuli depicting prepubescent children and positively with stimuli depicting adults, replicating the pattern described in a previous report (Cantor et al., 2004). Unlike the previous study, however, patients’ handedness scores did not significantly correlate with their numbers of prepubescent victims. To explore this discrepancy, Study 2 combined the patients from this replication sample with those in the previously reported sample, categorizing them by the sex and age group of greatest erotic interest to them. The odds of non-right-handedness in men offending predominantly against prepubescent children were approximately two-fold higher than that in men offending predominantly against adults and three-fold higher after eliminating those men with intrafamilial (i.e., incest) offenses. Handedness differences between men erotically interested in males versus females were not statistically significant. These results indicate that the rates of non-right-handedness in pedophilia are much larger than previously suggested and are comparable to the rates observed in pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism, suggesting a neurological component to the development of pedophilia and hebephilia.

Cantor, J. M., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., & Blanchard, R. (2007). Physical height in pedophilia and hebephilia. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 19, 395–407.

Adult men’s height reflects, not only their genetic endowment, but also the conditions that were present during their development in utero and in childhood. We compared the adult heights of men who committed one or more sexual offenses and who were erotically interested in prepubescent children (pedophilic sexual offenders; n=223), those who were erotically interested in pubescent children (hebephilic sexual offenders; n=615), and those who were erotically interested in adults (teleiophilic sexual offenders; n=187), as well as men who had no known sexual offenses and who were erotically interested in adults (teleiophilic nonoffender controls; n=156). The pedophilic and the hebephilic sexual offenders were significantly shorter than the teleiophilic nonoffender controls. The teleiophilic sexual offenders were intermediate in height between the nonoffenders and the pedophilic and hebephilic sexual offenders and not significantly different from any of the other groups. This suggests that-regardless of whatever psychological sequelae might also have followed from the conditions present during early development-pedophilic and hebephilic sexual offenders were subject to conditions capable of affecting their physiological development.

Cantor, J. M., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., & Blanchard, R. (2006). Grade failure and special education placement in sexual offenders’ educational histories. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35, 743–751.

A sample of 701 adult men underwent assessment following illegal or clinically significant sexual behaviors or interests. Patients were categorized on the basis of phallometric (penile) responses in the laboratory to erotic stimuli depicting adults, pubescent children, and prepubescent children; histories of sexual offenses; and self-reported sexual interests. Comprising the categories were men sexually interested in prepubescent children (pedophiles; n = 114), men sexually interested in pubescent children (hebephiles; n = 377), men sexually interested in adults and who had committed a sexual offense against an adult (teleiophilic offenders; n = 139), and men sexually interested in adults and who had no known history of any sexual offenses (teleiophilic nonoffenders; n = 71). Patients’ assessments included IQ testing and self-reported academic history, which included any grade failures and assignment to special education classes. Relative to the teleiophilic offenders, both the pedophilic and the hebephilic groups showed approximately double the odds of failing a grade or being enrolled in special education, both before and after covarying IQ. No significant differences were detected between the teleiophilic offenders and the teleiophilic nonoffenders. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that an erotic age preference for children sometimes results from a perturbation of neurodevelopment occurring early in life.

Danni, K. A., & Hampe, G. D. (2000). An analysis of predictors of child sex offender types using presentence investigation reports. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 44, 490–504.

The purpose of this study was to differentiate between three types of child sexual offenders—pedophiles, hebophiles, and incest offenders. The sample consisted of 168 convicted sex offenders. The data for the study were gathered from presentence investigation reports used by the court for sentencing proceedings. Using multiple discriminant analysis, eight independent variables were found to significantly discriminate between the three types of sex offenders almost 90% of the time. These variables were sexually victimized as a child, prepubertal victim, seduction motive, age-appropriate relationships, stress, own child as victim, social facade, and anger. Suggestions were made to probation and parole officers in the use of this information.

Freund, K., & Blanchard, R. (1987). Feminine gender identity and physical aggressiveness in heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 13, 25–34.

This study explored the differences among six groups of adult males in retrospective self-reports of childhood gender identity and physical aggressiveness. The three groups of homosexual men preferred prepubescent, pubescent, or physically mature sexual partners. The three groups of heterosexual men preferred prepubescent partners, normal sexual interaction with physically mature partners (controls), or anomalous interaction with physically mature partners. Childhood gender identity was measured with the Feminine Gender Identity Scale (FGIS), and boyhood aggressiveness was measured with the Physical Aggressiveness Scale (PAS). Duncan tests at the .05 level showed that the FGIS differentiated the homosexuals who preferred mature partners from the five other groups; whereas the PAS differentiated all homosexual groups from all heterosexual groups. These results suggest that male homosexuals in general tend to be unaggressive in boyhood, whereas only those who prefer mature sexual partners show significant levels of feminine identification.

Freund, K., & Blanchard, R. (1989). Phallometric diagnosis of pedophilia. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 57, 100–105.

We investigated the sensitivity and specificity of our phallometric test for pedophilia (and hebephilia). An initial sample of subjects included 47 men accused of sexual offenses against minors and 26 control subjects--men accused of offenses against adult women (exhibitionism, rape, or sexually sadistic activity). A second sample included 107 offenders against minors and 30 control subjects. In both samples, the offenders against minors were further classified according to the targets of their sexual offenses (girls, boys, or both) and according to the extent to which they admitted an erotic preference for the immature physique. Computerized diagnostic rules were developed with the first sample and cross-validated with the second. The sensitivity of the test in detecting pedophilia or hebephilia in complete nonadmitters is probably greater than or equal to 55% but is certainly less than 100%. Its specificity appears to be over 95%.

Freund, K., Chan, S., & Coulthard, R. (1979). Phallometric diagnosis with nonadmitters. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 17, 451–457.

The phallometric method of assessing erotic value of presented stimuli has 2 main tasks: (a) breaking down of complex (potentially) sexual stimuli into components and (b) diagnosing anomalous erotic preferences in “nonadmitters” (i.e., persons whose behavior would imply there is such an anomaly, but who deny its presence). Differentiation between admitters and nonadmitters was attained by 2 verbal admitter scales. Comparison of the scores of 152 males (mean age 31 yrs) on these scales with results of phallometric assessment showed that the phallometric method diagnoses admitters more accurately than nonadmitters. The validity of a new mode of the phallometric method was tested, designed for diagnosing pedo- or hebephilia in nonadmitters. In cases of homosexual pedophilia or hebephilia (but not in the heterosexual cases), the new nonadmitter mode was superior to the standard procedure.

Freund, K., Heasman, G. A, & Roper, V. (1982). Results of the main studies on sexual offences against children and pubescents: A review. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 24, 387–397.

Reviews epidemiological and demographic studies of hebephilia and pedophilia, including father-daughter incest. Findings are discussed in terms of prevalence, occurrence in females, age distribution of offenders, recidivism, violence, family background of offenders, characteristics of victims, erotic age preference of incest offenders, and alcoholism in incest offenders.

Freund, K., Scher, H., Chan, S., & Ben-Aron, M. (1982). Experimental analysis of pedophilia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 20, 105-112.

[Not available]

Freund, K., Seeley, H. R., Marshall, W. E., & Glinfort, E. K. (1972). Sexual offenders needing special assessment and/or therapy. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Corrections, 14, 345–365.

In the course of planning treatment facilities for male sexual offenders, a rough screening procedure was carried out encompassing all male inmates of correctional institutions serving a sentence for a sex offence and all those on parole while serving such sentence, as of two certain dates within the correctional system of the Province of Ontario. However, several sex offences listed under the Criminal Code of Canada were selectively omitted: sanctions derived from postulates regarding sexual behaviour, which in fact have been virtually abandoned by society at large (e.g. seduction under promise of marriage of unmarried “female of previously chaste character” or “seduction of female passenger on vessels” etc.) and such categories of offences where it was felt that the leading motivation is more of an acquisitive type than a sexual one (e.g. “procuring”, etc. see Table 1)….

Freund, K., & Watson, R. J. (1991). Assessment of the sensitivity and specificity of a phallometric test: An update of phallometric diagnosis of pedophilia. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 3, 254–260.

The specificity and sensitivity of the phallometric test of an erotic preference for minors (V. Quinsey et al; see record 1975-21378-001) was assessed. The specificity was determined to be 96.9% if using a group of sex offenders against female adults and 80.6% if using a group of paid volunteers. Test results of 27 sex offenders against at least 2 female children each and of 22 offenders against at least 2 male minors each (either against children or against pubescents, but not against both), demonstrated sensitivities of 78.2% for heterosexual pedophiles and 88.6% for homosexual pedophiles or hebephiles. From these test sensitivities, the percentage of subjects preferring minors in a group of offenders against only 1 female child each, a group of offenders against at least 1 female child and at least 1 female pubescent each, and a group of offenders against only 1 male minor each (child or pubescent) were determined as being 44.5%, 74.6%, and 86.7% respectively.

Freund, K., Watson, R., & Rienzo, D. (1988). Signs of feigning in the phallometric test. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 26, 105–112.

Tested in Exp I, with 164 male adult sex offenders tested for pedophilia and homosexual hebephilia, the validity of the conjecture that 3 particular patterns occurring in phallometric results are signs of feigning. In all 3 cases the outcome supported this conjecture. Exp II showed that feigning a spurious preference for sex (gender) of partner was more difficult for 42 male university students than feigning a spurious preference in respect to partner age, and that the degree of difficulty of the latter depended on whether or not the S was already familiar with the phallometric test and on the version of the phallometric test for age preference and sex preference used.

Greenberg, D. M., Bradford, J. M., & Curry, S. (1993). A comparison of sexual victimization in the childhoods of pedophiles and hebephiles. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 38, 432–436.

135 pedophiles and 43 hebephiles (aged 16+ yrs) who admitted to their offenses completed a self-report sexual history inventory. A total of 42% of pedophiles and 44% of hebephiles reported being sexually victimized in their own childhoods. Pedophiles reported being molested at a younger age than hebephiles. Both groups appear to have chosen their age specific victims in accordance with the age of their own experience of sexual victimization.

Horley, J. (2005). Fixed-role therapy with multiple paraphilias. Clinical Case Studies, 4, 72–80.

Paraphilias, or sexually deviant behaviors, are especially difficult to address when an individual displays more than one sexual deviation atone time. A case of an incarcerated forensic client who displayed symptoms of sadism, masochism, and hebephilia is described. Fixed-role therapy (FRT), a dramaturgical approach to treatment where a client enacts a new character or role based on how he or she would like to act, was employed with at least short-term success in one case. Some of the advantages and limitations of FRT are discussed.

Kalichman, S. C. (1991). Psychopathology and personality characteristics of criminal sexual offenders as a function of victim age. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 20, 187–197.

The affective, personality and psychopathological characteristics of incarcerated adult sex offenders was studied. Subjects’ were 144 men divided into three groups based on the age of their victims: prepubescent children, postpubescent adolescents, and adults. Results indicated significant differences between groups in trait anxiety and anger, self-esteem, and 7 of 13 MMPI scales. Results suggest a linear relationship between victim age and psychopathology, with child offenders displaying the greatest affective and thought disturbance. Adolescent offenders scored between child and adult offenders” on most measures’. Results are discussed in the context of theoretical explanations for sexual aggression and treatment.

Leander, L., Christianson, S. A., & Granhag, P. A. (2008). Internet-initiated sexual abuse: Adolescent victims’ reports about on- and off-line sexual activities. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 1260–1274.

The purpose of the present study was to investigate how adolescent girls, who had been sexually (on-and off-line) deceived and abused by an Internet hebephile, reported about these acts. As we had access to documentation of 68 girls’ conversations (i.e. chat logs) and involvement with the perpetrator, we were able to gauge what the victims reported during the police interview against this detailed documentation. In contrast with findings from previous research, the majority of victims reported about the off-line activities (real-life meetings) with the perpetrator. However, the victims omitted and/or denied more of the on-line activities, specifically the more severe sexual on-line acts (sending nude photos and participating in sexual web shows). There is probably a gap between what the victims reported and what they presumably remembered about the on-line, activities. Factors that might have affected the victims’ pattern of reports are discussed.

O’Donohue, W., & Letourneau, E. (1992). The psychometric properties of the penile tumescence assessment of child molesters. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 14, 123–174.

The presence of sexual arousal to children or a sexual preference for children are commonly hypothesized as being related to child molesting. Sexual arousal and sexual preference do not appear to be accurately assessed by traditional assessment methods such as the clinical interview and traditional personality testing or by projective testing (Earls, 1992). Penile tumescence measurement is an increasingly utilized method for assessing sexual arousal and preference in child molesters. The published literature concerning the psychometric properties of this technology as used with child molesters is critically reviewed. Basic questions concerning the sexual preference hypothesis, the criterion problem, the lack of procedural standardization, the kind of test penile tumescence measures exemplifies, and potentially problematic inferences involved in penile tumescence assessment are examined. There is evidence of test-retest and internal consistency reliabilities for certain penile tumescence measurement procedures. While there are a significant number of studies providing evidence that these techniques can accurately distinguish child abusers from nonoffenders, many are plagued by methodological problems Suggestions for future research are given.

Rooth, G. (1973). Exhibitionism, sexual violence and paedophilia. British Journal of Psychiatry, 122, 705–710.

Traditionally, exhibitionists have been considered harmless, but recent papers have questioned that view. 30 cases of persistent exhibitionism are reviewed. The evidence suggests that sexual violence was rare among them, although a high proportion had a history of pedophiliac or hebephiliac activities, and there were 3 cases of incest. Other sexual deviations of these cases are considered, and it is suggested that exhibitionists are not a homogeneous group. Exposing, peeping, touching, and pedophiliac activities first appear in childhood and may, under unfavorable circumstances, develop a degree of autonomy at the expense of normal heterosexual development. Further studies might investigate the choice of witness to clarify the relationship between exhibitionism and other deviations.

Sample, L. L., & Bray, T. M. (2006). Are sex offenders different? An examination of rearrest patterns. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 17, 83–102.

Sex offender registration and community notification requirements are universally applied to all sex offenders irrespective of their type. In this way, these policies treat sex offenders as a homogenous group, assuming that they exhibit similar reoffending patterns regardless of the age of their victims or the nature of their crimes. In this article, the authors highlight the assumption of homogeneity underlying sex offender laws and review it in light of current empirical evidence. They also offer a case study of recidivism rates for sex offenders in Illinois. The authors find that sex offenders are not the homogenous group that our policies assume, and they discuss the implication of this finding for the application of sex offender laws.

Studer, L. H., Aylwin, A. S., Clelland, S. R, Reddon, J. R., & Frenzel, R. R. (2002). Primary erotic preference in a group of child molesters. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 25, 173–180.

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the validity of the distinction between incestuous and nonincestuous offenders using phallometric data. The sample was drawn from 217 voluntary patients in a sex offender treatment program. Phallometric measurement was used to examine erotic preferences from four categories: prepubescent, pubescent/hebephilic, adult, and pangynephilic. The most significant finding from the study was that the erotic preference testing could not distinguish with certainty incestuous from nonincestuous child molesters. Thus study lends support to the notion that the categories of incestuous and nonincestuous offenders are less distinct than continuously thought.




The information provided on these pages is for educational purposes only.
It is not intended as clinical or legal advice.  The opinions expressed are those of
James Cantor and do not necessarily reflect those of CAMH or the University of Toronto.

Last updated 28 December 2011