Is there familial transmission of Pedophilia?

Gary R. Gaffney, Shelly F. Lurie, Fred S. Berlin

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51 Scopus citations


A naturalistic, double-blind, family history comparison of sexual deviancy in the first degree relatives of inpatients with pedophilia and nonpedophilic paraphilia was done. Both proband groups were similar in demographic characteristics, except that pedophiles had a later onset of illness and were older during hospitalization. All patients were men. Sexual deviancy was found in 18.5 per cent of the families of paraphiliacs; only 3 per cent of a psychiatric control group had a family member with sexual deviancy. The preponderance of affected relatives were men. The types of sexual deviancy found in the families of the groups differed. Sexual deviancy among the pedophiles' families consisted of pedophilia. In families of nonpedophilic paraphiliacs, sexual deviancy was predominantly a paraphilia not involving children. These data suggest that pedophilia is familial; however, further studies are needed to delineate the manner of transmission. Nonetheless, pedophilia is found more frequently in families of pedophiles than in families of nonpedophilic paraphiliacs. This indicates specificity in the familial transmission. Thus pedophilia may be independent of the other paraphilias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-548
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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