Researchers who have conducted careful studies of pedophiles outside the clinical or criminological settings have found little evidence to support the belief that attraction to underage boys is related to any particular personality profile or disorder.13
For example, two British psychologists studied a sample of 77 men most of whom were attracted to 12 to 14 year old boys. A high percentage were professionals. The administered the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to assess personality characteristics.
- The men showed no signs of clinically significant psychopathy or thought disorder.
- However, they were on average more introverted, shy, and sensitive than the general population.
- They were more likely to have feelings of loneliness and depression.
The researchers wrote that other investigators had obtained similar results, but emphasized that it could not be concluded whether these characteristics were related to pedophilia or to society's attitudes toward them. They wrote that their results were "consistent with previous findings in failing to discover any obvious links between paedophilia and aggressive or psychotic symptoms.14
Similarly, after an extensive review of the literature, two UCLA psychologists concluded:
- Nothing can be deduced about the personality or characteristics of pedophiles.
- Even pedophiles who have been convicted of offenses against children show no consistent diagnosable pathology apart from sexual deviation.
- Little can be concluded about sex offenders against minors: Some tend toward shyness, loneliness, low self-esteem, and isolation, but not in a significant way when compared with other offenders. Furthermore, such feelings may be the result of society’s reaction to them.15
Most researchers, including those who have examined only prison samples, have found that pedophiles who do engage in sexual activity with children rarely use force or violence. No links between pedophilia and aggression have been found.16
Dutch researcher Theo Sandfort writes:
It is not true that pedophilia in men is associated with a number of other socially recognizable characteristics. Psychiatric literature has played an important role in establishing this misconception: in it one reads that pedophilia occurs in regressive personalities who are frightened of sexual contact with women and have not sufficient social skills to be able to get along with adults. Such stereotyping is completely without empirical support. There is no research which justifies any kind of type-casting of "the" pedophile.17
14. Wilson & Cox, 1983.
15. Okami & Goldberg, 1992.
16. Bradford et al., 1988; Constantine, 1981; Crawford, 1981; Hall, 1996; Howells, 1981; Ingram, 1981; Okami & Goldberg, 1992; Virkkunen, 1981; West, 1998; West & Woodhouse, 1990; Wilson & Cox, 1983.
17. Sandfort, 1987.