Factors associated with erection in adolescent sex offenders

Judith V. Becker, John A. Hunter, Robert M. Stein, Meg S. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


A majority of adult child molesters report that their deviant interest began prior to the age of 18. This illustrates the need to evaluate adolescents who have molested children. Since self-report of deviant interest is rare in adolescent offenders, psychophysiologic assessment is necessary to help to determine the extent for a deviant interest pattern. The current study was designed to determine what factors are associated with erectile responding to age-inappropriate stimuli in an adolescent sex offender population. Factors studied were (a) admit/deny, (b) history of physical abuse, (c) history of sexual abuse, (d) history of nonsex arrests, and (e) incest/nonincest. The dependent variables were two pedophile indices, a relative measure of deviant to nondeviant arousal. Results indicated that history of sexual abuse was associated with more deviant erectile responding in those adolescents who had molested young boys. The possibility of adolescents modeling their own victimization is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-362
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent sex offender
  • psychophysiologic assessment
  • sex abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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