Manufacturing Mental Disorder by Pathologizing Erotic Age Orientation: A Comment on Blanchard et al. (2008)
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KeywordsMental Disorder Sexual Behavior Basic Science Rational Basis Diagnostic Category
If I had been a peer-reviewer for the Blanchard et al. (2008) article, “Pedophilia, Hebephilia, and the DSM-V,” with only minor revisions, I would have recommended publication. The article appears to provide a solid, basic science investigation of some of the categories of erotic age orientation. The bulk of this peer-reviewed article appears to be scientific and to contribute to the advancement of knowledge.
…the DSM-V should expand the definition of Pedophilia so that it includes erotic attraction to pubescent and prepubescent children or, alternatively, add a separate diagnosis of Hebephilia….Another possibility would be to completely replace the diagnosis of Pedophilia with Pedohebephilia and allow the clinician to specify one of three subtypes…
Like masturbation and homosexuality, pedophilia (informally: erotic attraction to prepubescent people) appears to have entered the DSM as a “mental disorder” without any scientific or rational basis, perhaps because, like masturbation and homosexuality, pedophilia does not usually lead to procreation. Indeed, even today, there appears to be no rational scientific basis for the inclusion of pedophilia as a defined mental disorder (cf. Green, 2002; Moser & Kleinplatz, 2005; Suppe, 1984). When appearing in an article that did not examine or discuss the concept of mental disorder, I find the Blanchard et al. (2008) call to expand the definition problematic.
The Archives and the authors should publish an errata clearly indicating that the Blanchard et al. (2008) article provided no evidence or reasoning to support their recommendation regarding the expansion of the problematic diagnostic category of pedophilia. The Archives should additionally examine its peer-review system to determine how such a prominent recommendation—that does not follow from the research reported in the article—was allowed to be published, and take steps to minimize this type of problem from reoccurring.
- Blanchard, R., Lykins, A. D., Wherrett, D., Kuban, M. E., Cantor, J. M., Blak, T., et al. (2008). Pedophilia, hebephilia, and the DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9399-9.