Pedophilic Disorder

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Book Contribution

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Pedophilia, now termed pedophilic disorder, has been consistently defined by mental health professionals, social scientists, and historians as sexual interest in prepubescent children. In this chapter, we review evolving professional definitions of this disorder, available information regarding the prevalence of pedophilia, as well as etiological models to explain the development and manifestation of pedophilic interests. This includes considerations of historical as well as current views of how this disorder develops. Assessment strategies are reviewed, including the importance of a pretreatment psychosexual history as well as formal and structured assessment tools that are beneficial in treatment. Important treatment models for pedophilia include cognitive-behavioral therapy, relapse prevention, psychopharmacological interventions, and use of the risk-needs-responsivity framework. The chapter further describes empirical research related to recidivism and assessment of sex offender risk among those diagnosed with pedophilia, including the identification of common risk assessment tools. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of relevant policy issues and directions for future research in this important area.