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Comparison of Personality Traits in Pedophiles, Abstinent Opiate Addicts, and Healthy Controls: Considering Pedophilia as an Addictive Behavior

Cohen, Lisa J. PhD*; Grebchenko, Yuli F. MD*; Steinfeld, Matthew MA; Frenda, Steven J. BA; Galynker, Igor I. MD, PhD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: November 2008 - Volume 196 - Issue 11 - p 829-837
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31818b4e3d
Original Article

To investigate the model of pedophilia as a disorder of addictive behavior, pedophiles and chemically addicted individuals were compared on personality traits potentially associated with impaired behavioral inhibition. Twenty-nine pedophiles, 25 opiate addicts (OA’s), and 27 healthy controls were administered the Barratt Impulsivity Scale, Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), and Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-V for Axis-II. OA’s scored higher than either pedophiles or controls on the Barratt. Pedophiles and OA’s scored higher than controls on all 3 Psychopathy Checklist-Revised scores but OA’s scored marginally higher than pedophiles on factor 2 (behavioral) and total scores. On Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-V for Axis-II, pedophiles scored higher than controls on paranoid and schizoid scores whereas OA’s did so on paranoid scores. Thus, both pedophiles and OA’s may have elevated psychopathic traits and propensity toward cognitive distortions, as reflected in cluster A traits. Such similarities support the conceptualization of pedophilia as a behavioral addiction. Pedophiles may be less impulsive than OA’s, however, and more prone toward cognitive distortions.

*Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York; †Department of Psychology, New School University, New York, New York; and ‡Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, California.

Supported in part by a Rothschild Foundation award to Dr. Galynker.

This data has been previously presented at the 158th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, May 21–26, 2005, Atlanta, GA.

Send reprint requests to Lisa J. Cohen, PhD, Beth Israel Medical Center, 1st Ave. and 16th St. New York, New York 10003. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.