Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 44, Issue 8, pp 2173–2187 | Cite as

Stigma-Related Stress and Its Correlates Among Men with Pedophilic Sexual Interests

  • Sara JahnkeEmail author
  • Alexander F. Schmidt
  • Max Geradt
  • Jürgen Hoyer
Original Paper


Despite decades of research on the adverse consequences of stereotyping and discrimination for many stigmatized groups, little is known about how people with pedophilia perceive and react to stigma. In this article, we present a framework that outlines how stigma-related stress might negatively affect emotional and social areas of functioning, cognitive distortions, and the motivation to pursue therapy, all of which may contribute to an increased risk of sexual offending. We tested our hypotheses in an online survey among self-identified German-speaking people with pedophilia (N = 104) using a wide range of validated indicators of social and emotional functioning (Brief Symptom Inventory-53, UCLA Loneliness Scale, Emotion Subscale of the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations, Fear of Negative Evaluation-5, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale). Specific risk factors such as self-efficacy, cognitive distortions, and the motivation to seek treatment were also assessed. In line with our hypotheses, fear of discovery generally predicted reduced social and emotional functioning. Contrary to our predictions, perceived social distance and fear of discovery were not linked to self-efficacy, cognitive distortions, or treatment motivation. Results were controlled for the effects of confounding variables (e.g., age, educational level, social desirability, relationship status). We critically evaluate the empirical contribution of this study to research on stigma and child sex offenses, including a discussion of the results in light of the potential indirect effects that public stigma may have on the overall risk for sexual offenses.


Stigma Pedophilia Paraphilia Child sexual abuse Social distance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Jahnke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexander F. Schmidt
    • 2
  • Max Geradt
    • 1
  • Jürgen Hoyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Klinische Psychologie und PsychotherapieTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.INSIDE Research Unit, Institute for Health and BehaviourUniversity of LuxembourgWalferdangeLuxembourg

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