The sexual preferences of incest offenders

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 6
11 views
PDF
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Document Description
The sexual preferences of incest offenders
Document Share
Document Tags
Document Transcript
  Journal  of Abnormal Psychology1999 Vol.  108 No.  2,  267-272 Copyright 1999  by  the  American  Psychological  Association, Inc. 0021-843X/99/S3.00 The  Sexual Preferences  of  Incest Offenders Michael C. Seto, Martin L.  Lalumiere,  and Michael  Kuban Centre for  Addiction  and  Mental Health Inclusive fitness theory suggests that discriminative  solicitude  and  inbreeding  avoidance  are  importantmechanisms regulating  parent-children  interactions.  From  an  inclusive fitness perspective,  sex  with one's  biological children  is paradoxical. The  authors hypothesized that  incest can  occur when  these mechanisms  are not  activated (e.g.,  if a  father  is  uninvolved  in  child  rearing)  or are  overwhelmed  by another factor, such  as  pedophilic interest.  They  predicted  that  biological  fathers,  who  presumably havebeen  the  most  involved  in the  rearing  of  their victims, would show  greater  phallometrically  measuredpedophilic interest than would  other  incest offenders against  children (e.g.,  grandfathers, uncles, step-fathers).  The prediction was not supported. A testable  alternative hypothesis  to  explain  biological  father incest  is  presented  and the  importance  of  assessing  pedophilic  interest among incest offenders  is discussed. Sexual Preferences of Incest Offenders Phallometric studies of sexual interests have consistently  found that  nonincestuous child molesters  differ from  nonoffenders,  with child molesters responding relatively more to stimuli depictingchildren (e.g., Freund & Watson, 1991; Marshall, Barbaree, & Christophe,  1986; Quinsey, Steinman, Bergersen, & Holmes,1975). In other words, as a group, nonincestuous child molestersare sexually deviant. More deviant responding is associated with having  a male victim, having more than one victim, and having younger  victims. Follow-up studies have shown that more deviantresponding is associated with a greater likelihood of committing a new  sexual  offense  (Hanson & Bussiere, 1998). The  sexual preference  of  incestuous child molesters  is  less  clear.Some studies using visual stimuli  found  that incestuous childmolesters have a more appropriate pattern of sexual arousal thannonincestuous child molesters (Frenzel & Lang, 1989; Freund, Watson, & Dickey, 1991; Marshall et  al.,  1986; Quinsey, Chaplin,& Carrigan, 1979). Other studies  found  no difference between the two  groups (Abel, Becker, Murphy, & Flanagan, 1981; Langevin &  Watson,  1991;  Malcolm, Andrews, & Quinsey, 1993; Murphy, Haynes,  Stalgaitis, & Flanagan, 1986). Similarly, some studies using  audio stimuli have  found  a  difference (Lang, Black, Frenzel,& Checkley, 1988; Marshall et  al.,  1986),  whereas others have not (Abel  et  al.,  1981; Barsetti, Earls, Lalumiere, & Belanger, 1998;Chaplin, Rice, & Harris, 1995; Murphy et  al.,  1986). Notably, no Michael  C.  Seto,  Martin  L. Lalumiere, and Michael  Kuban,  Forensic Program, Centre  for  Addiction  and  Mental  Health,  Toronto,  Ontario, Canada. Michael C.  Seto  and  Martin  L. Lalumiere are also at the Departments of Psychiatry  and  Criminology  at the  University  of  Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We  thank Howard  Barbaree,  Grant  Harris,  Vernon  Quinsey,  and  MarnieRice  for  their helpful  comments  on  earlier versions  of  this article.Correspondence  concerning this article should  be addressed to Michael C.  Seto,  Forensic Program, Centre  for  Addiction  and  Mental Health,  250 College  Street,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T  1R8.  Electronic  mail  may be  sent  to  setom@cs.clarke-inst.on.ca. study  has  found  that incestuous  offenders  are  more deviant than nonincestuous  offenders. Except  for  Langevin  and  Watson (1991),investigators have  not  distinguished incest offenders  as a  function of their genetic relationship to their victims (see Bixler,  1983). This is a distinction that can have important theoretical and prac-tical implications.From inclusive fitness theory, we could predict differencesbetween biological fathers  and  other incest  offenders  for two reasons. First, inclusive fitness theory suggests that there has beenselection pressure over time for psychological mechanisms to treat kin  preferentially  in  terms  of  affection,  care,  and  investment  of resources, and to avoid activities that might harm them (see Daly &  Wilson, 1988). In other words, over the course of many gener- ations,  individuals who did not  vary  their solicitude toward othersas a  function  of their genetic relatedness would be less likely topass  on  their genes  to the  next  generation.  It is of  interest  in  thiscontext that the perceived severity of sexual and nonsexual crimeis linearly and positively related to the purported genetic relation-ship between perpetrator and victim (Quinsey, Lalumiere, Queree,& McNaughton, in press).Second, inclusive  fitness  theory postulates the existence of aninbreeding avoidance mechanism to decrease the possibility of theexpression of recessive deleterious genes (see Welham, 1990). Astrong candidate was discussed by  Westermarck (1891),  who sug-gested that individuals raised together as children would not besexually attracted  to  each other  in  later  life.  A  propinquity-basedmechanism would presumably have been effective in ancestralenvironments because siblings would almost always be raisedtogether.  Westermarck's  hypothesis could be applied to  parent- child incest  as  well,  if we  presume  that  parents  in  ancestralenvironments were often involved in the early care of theirchildren.Consistent with the discriminative solicitude mechanism, Wil- son  and Daly (1987) reported data showing that biologically re-lated children are much less likely to be physically abused  than  arestepchildren. Looking at  official  Canadian homicide data, an un-ambiguous measure of maltreatment that is much less vulnerable to  reporting  ~b'ias,T>aly  and'Wilson  VT9^4)  louno.  that  slepCriii&ren 267  268 SETO,  LALUMIERE,  AND  KUBAN were 60 times more likely to be killed than were biologicallyrelated children. Similarly, having  a  stepfather increases  a  girl'srisk of being sexually abused (Finkelhor, Hotaling, Lewis, &Smith, 1990). Of course, most stepfathers do not physically orsexually abuse their  stepchildren, but  they  do  pose  a greater  riskthan biological fathers. In humans and many other species, dis- criminative  solicitude varies as a  function  of genetic relatedness. There  is  also support  for a  Westermarckian mechanism,  in- cluding  animal studies and data  from  individuals raised together in kibbutzim  and traditional arranged marriages in Taiwan (see re-view by van den Berghe, 1979). Recently, Bevc and  Silverman (1993) surveyed university students and  found  that siblings whowere separated for more than a year during their first 6 years of  life were more likely to have had attempted or to have had intercourse with  each other than those who were not. In terms of  father- daughter  incest, two studies have  found  that biological fathers whocommitted incest were less involved in early child-care activities than  were  nonoffending  controls (Parker  &  Parker, 1986; Williams& Finkelhor, 1995). Parker and Parker (1986)  found  this  effectwith  stepfathers as well. Williams and Finkelhor (1995) were ableto control for other predisposing factors, such as abuse experienced by  the perpetrator, low empathy, marital dissatisfaction, and sexual offending  as a youth. Interestingly, Williams and Finkelhor in-cluded a sample of incestuous and nonincestuous fathers who were in  the navy. The absences of  navy  fathers  from  home during theearly lives  of  their daughters were  not  voluntary, thereby ruling  out the alternative explanation that  a  common factor  may  predisposemen both to be absent from home and to commit incest.Thus, a valid distinction can be made between incestuous bio-logical fathers and stepfathers because the latter are not geneticallyrelated  and are  less involved,  on  average,  in the  early care  and nurturance of their victims (because they are much less likely to bepresent  from  the time of the victims' births). If the evolvedmechanisms are based, at least in part, on propinquity, we wouldexpect less solicitude and weaker incest avoidance, on average, for offenders  against stepdaughters. Similarly,  we  would expect  less solicitude and weaker incest avoidance for offenders who have alower degree of genetic relatedness and who do not usually livewith the victim, such as uncles with their nieces or grandfatherswith their granddaughters. Father-daughter  incest, especially when  the  father  is  involvedin the early care of the daughter, is therefore  difficult  to explain.We suggest that the inclusive fitness mechanisms can be disruptedor overwhelmed in these cases of incest. One candidate for this interference  is a sexual preference for children (i.e., pedophilicinterest).  The  logic  is,  ceteris  paribus, that  a man who has a  sexualpreference for children will be more likely to victimize his daugh- ter  despite  the  functioning  of  inclusive fitness mechanisms, com-pared with men who do not have such a preference. Few  studies examining pedophilic interest have distinguishedincest  offenders  according to genetic relatedness or amount ofinvolvement in early care and rearing. One study  found  that offenders  against daughters and stepdaughters showed more ap-propriate sexual preferences than  extrafamilial  child  molesters, whereas offenders against other female family members showedintermediate responses (Quinsey  et  al.,  1979). Langevin  and Watson  (1991)  found no difference between biological fathers andstepfathers in their relative sexual arousal to depictions of children.We assigned a large sample of incest offenders with femalevictims into one of three groups: biological fathers, stepfathers,and offenders against an extended family member. We comparedtheir sexual responses to children and adults  with  a group of nonincestuous  (i.e.,  extrafamilial)  child  molesters  and  with  a  group of  mixed offenders with both unrelated and related victims. Thechild molester groups represent, in a sense,  different  probabilitiesof the inclusive fitness mechanisms being activated (with biolog-ical fathers having the highest probability and extrafamilial childmolesters having  the  lowest).  We  also included  two  controlgroups: a sample of rapists and a group of nonoffending volun-teers. We restricted our analysis to offenders against only femalevictims. We compared incestuous and nonincestuous child molest-ers to see if they differed in their relative sexual responses todepictions of children. From inclusive fitness theory, we hypoth-esized that  a  pedophilic interest  may  disrupt  or  overwhelm  the inclusive fitness mechanisms of discriminative solicitude and in-cest avoidance, and therefore predicted that biological fatherswould show stronger responses to children than would stepfathersor extended family members. Method Participants Participants  were  omitted from this study  if  there were  technical  prob-lems  during the  phallometric  testing  procedure  (n  =  27),  if  there  was evidence  from  their  responses  of  faking,  as  described  by  Freund,  Watson, and Rienzo in  1988  (n =  148),  or if  they  were  actively psychotic  or  judged to be  borderline  or lower in  intellectual functioning  (n  =  38).  This resulted in 733 participants for  this study,  divided  into the  following  groups:  70 offenders with only  biological  daughters  as victims  (biological  incest),  87 incest  offenders with only  extended  family  members  as victims, for exam- ple,  nieces,  cousins, granddaughters (extended  incest),  73  offenders with only  stepdaughters  as  victims  (legal  incest),  254  extrafamilial  child  mo- lesters  (extrafamilial),  64  offenders with  both related  and  unrelated victims (mixed),  84  offenders against adult  females  (rapists),  and a group of 101 heterosexual controls  from  the  community  who reported  that they  had not committed  any  sexual  offenses  (controls). Offenders  were  classified into  the  biological  or  legal  incest group if  they had  only  biological  daughters  or  stepdaughters,  respectively, as  victims;offenders  were  classified into  the  extended incest group  if  they  had  only female extended  family  members  as  victims; offenders  in the  extrafamilial group had  only  unrelated  female victims;  and  offenders  in the  mixed  group had  both  related  and  unrelated  female  victims.  Child  molester classifica- tions were based  on collateral  information  (e.g.,  police  synopsis, lawyer's letter)  and  self-report  if the  offender  admitted  to  more  victims than wereofficially  recorded.  Rapists  did not  have  any  victims under  the age of 14, based  on  self-report  and collateral  information. Nonoffender  controls  re-ported no sexual  offenses. Control  participants  were  recruited through advertisements  posted around  the  campus  of a  community  college  and were  paid  $15 an  hour  for their  participation. Men in the  other  groups participated in the  phallometric testing  as  part  of  their  clinical assessment  in the Sexology  Department  ofthe  Clarke  Institute of  Psychiatry.  Data  from many  of these  participants have  been  reported  before  (e.g., Freund  &  Watson,  1991,  Freund et  al., 1991).  Child  molesters  with  any  male  victims  were  excluded from this study. Materials and  Apparatus Film clips  depicted  nude  individuals  of both  sexes  from four  age  cate-gories  walking toward  the  camera:  very young  children  (5-8  years  old),  INCEST OFFENDERS 269 Table  1 Biographic  Characteristics Characteristic Age  (years) Education'   married b Biological39.8(7.0) 3.6 (1.3) 100.0 Extended35.0(13.7) 3.2 (0.9) 62.1 Legal 38.4(9.3) 3.2 (1.1)98.7Extrafamilial35.4(11.6) 3.3 (1.1)69.8Mixed41.5 (11.5) 3.1 (1.0)94.7 Rapists 28.2(7.2) 3.5 (1.1) 64.1Controls28.1(6.3) 3.9 (0.9)71.0 Note.  Standard deviations are in parentheses.  Mean  scores, although education  was  measured  on an  ordinal scale:  1 =  no  formal education;  2 =  less thanGrade  8;  3 =  some high school;  4 =  high school graduation;  5 =  some college/university;  6 =  universitydegree.  b  Including common-law relationships, defined  as  cohabitation  for  more than  1  year.prepubescent children (8-11 years old), pubescent children  (12-13  yearsold),  and  physically mature targets (see Freund  &  Watson,  1991).  Sexuallyneutral  film  clips  of  landscape scenes were  also  shown. Clips depictingindividuals were accompanied  by  audiotapes describing  the  targets  as involved in nonsexual activities such as swimming. These audiotapednarratives emphasized characteristic features  of the  targets' body shape.Clips depicting landscapes were accompanied  by  narratives describing  the scenery. Film clips were presented using  a  commercially available filmprojector whereas audiotapes were presented using  a  commercially avail-able audiotape player and headphones. Penile responses were recordedusing  a  penile volume  sensor,  pressure-to-voltage transducer,  and a  scoringprogram written in SPSS syntax (SPSS Inc., 1990). Procedure The  data presented here  are  drawn from  the  clinical  records  of the Sexology Department. Each participant signed  a  consent form before  the test session began.  The  test session consisted  of  three blocks  of  nine trials,each trial lasting  28 s. The  nine trials consisted  of one  trial  for  each  age-sex category and one neutral landscape scene, presented in a fixed pseudoran-dom order for every participant. Film clips of  different  individuals from thesame  age-sex  category were simultaneously presented  on  three screensduring each trial. The next stimulus was not presented until the participanthad returned to within 1.0 ml of his baseline volume. Individuals weremonitored by a video camera trained on their upper body during the testing,to inhibit faking tactics such as looking away or tampering with the  sensor. Participants who did not comply with the testing procedures were notincluded  in the  data set.  The  entire session took approximately  an  hour.  We analyzed data  from  female stimuli only. Results Biographic Characteristics There  was a  significant  overall  group  difference  in  age,  F(6, 726)  = 22.65,  p <  .0001, and education level, F(6, 695) = 6.23, p  <  .0001 (see Table  1). Not  surprisingly,  all of the  biological incest  offenders  and  most  of the  legal incest  and  mixed  offenders were  married.  Information on  socioeconomic  status was unavail- able for  many  participants. Both age,  r(731) =  .23,  p <  .001,  and education, r(731)  =  —.16,  p <  .001, were  significantly  correlated with relative  responding to  children,  probably  because  the  child molester  groups  tended  to be  older  and  less educated  than the rapists or  controls  and  responded  relatively  more  to  children (see below).  The  results  reported here  did not change in  direction  or significance when  age and  education  were statistically  controlled in  the  analyses. History  of  Sexual  Offending Excluding  mixed  offenders,  who had at  least  two victims bydefinition,  there  was a significant  difference  between  groups in the proportion  who had multiple  victims,  ^(3,  N =  484) = 40.05,  p<  .0001 (see Table 2). Looking at  only  the  incestuous  child molesters,  stepfathers  were  much  less  likely  to  have multiple victims;  there  was  also  a  significant difference  between  all of thechild  molester  groups in terms of the  proportion  who had a prepubescent  victim,  ^(4,  N  =  548)  =  9.76,  p <  .05.  Victims were categorized  as  prepubescent  if  they  were  11  years  old or younger.  Having more  than  one  victim,  r(546) = .14,  p <  .005, and having  a prepubescent  victim,  r(546) = .14,  p <  .005,  were both  significantly  related  to  relative  responding  to  children amongthe  child molesters,  but the pattern of  results  for  child molesters did not  change  in  direction  or  significance when  these variables were  statistically controlled  in the  analyses. Phallometric  Responding Consistent  with  previous  studies  from  this  laboratory, changes in  penile  volume were  measured by the  largest  deviation  from baseline  (i.e., peak response)  and the  total  area  under  the  plotted response  curve for  each  stimulus  presentation (e.g.,  Freund.  & Blanchard,  1989;  Freund  &  Watson, 1991).  Both  measures  were converted to  standard scores  within  each  subject  and  averaged.These scores were used  to  calculate  a  pedophilic index,  defined  as the  average response  to  stimuli depicting young  and  prepubescentchildren minus the  average response  to  stimuli  depicting  adults.  A differential index  calculated  from  standard  scores takes  into  ac-count  individual differences in responsivity, and it is the  most psychometrically  appropriate  measure  of pedophilic  interest,  basedTable 2 Victim  History Offender groupBiological  incest Extended incestLegal incestExtrafamilialMixed n 7073 87 254 64 %  had  multiplevictims27.139.714.950.8100.0 %  had prepubescentvictim85.789.080.575.685.9  270 SETO, LALUMIERE,  AND  KUBAN u.u -.2 -.4   6 3  „ .3 • -i.O •o o  1  0 p«  -I- 2   -1.4 -1.6.-1.8  ] i IT  I   n  » BF EXT SF EF MIX RAP COM Group Figure  1.  Pedophilic index. BF = biological fathers; EXT = extended family  members; SF = stepfathers; EF =  extrafamilial  child molesters;MIX  =  mixed  child  molesters; RAP = rapists; COM = controls recruited from  the  community.  The 95%  confidence intervals  for the  group means are  shown  by  error bars. on  discriminant  and  predictive  validity studies  (e.g.,  Harris,  Rice, Quinsey,  Chaplin, & Earls, 1992; Rice, Quinsey, & Harris, 1991). Positive  scores indicate  a  preference  for  young  and  prepubescentchildren, whereas negative  scores  indicate a preference for adults. Unlike  previous studies  from  this laboratory, we retained  par- ticipants  who minimally responded, consistent with the discrimi- nant  validity  findings  of  Harris  et  al. (1992).  The  pattern  of  results did not  change when  low  responders were excluded from  the analysis. We  conducted  an  analysis  of  variance with  four  planned com-parisons:  (a) the  child molesters were compared  with  the  rapists and  controls;  (b)  incest offenders were compared with nonincest offenders  against  children;  and (c) the  linear  as well as (d)  qua- dratic  trends across the three incest  offender  groups, arrangedaccording  to  genetic relatedness (biological fathers  >  other geneticrelatives  >  stepfathers). Absolute  t  values  are  reported below.The mean  pedophilic  indices are presented in Figure  1.  A higher value  on the y-axis  indicates greater relative response  to  children.There  was a  significant  overall difference between  the  groups,  F(6, 726)  =  13.24,  p <  .0001.  Planned comparisons showed that childmolesters,  as a  group, were different  from  nonchild molesters, ?(726)  =  7.52,  p <  .001, and that incest offenders, as a group, were different from  the  extrafamilial  and  mixed child molesters com- bined  together,  f(726)  =  3.75,  p  <  .001.  There  was no  linear, f(726)  = 1.02,  ns,  or quadratic trend,  f(726)  = 1.62,  ns,  in mean indices  across  the  incest  offender  groups, arranged according  to average genetic relatedness. An examination of the 95%  confi- dence  intervals  for the  group means showed that  all of the  childmolester groups  had  significantly higher pedophilic indices than either  rapists  or  controls, with biological incest offenders being  the least deviant group  and  mixed offenders being  the  most deviant group.  Among  the  incest offenders, biological fathers were lessdeviant than  men who  victimized extended family members,  butthey did not  differ from  stepfathers. Neither stepfathers  nor of- fenders  against  an  extended  family  member  differed  from  offend- ers  with unrelated victims. The  standardized responses  to  children  and  adults  (after  sub- tracting  the  response to neutral stimuli) are presented in Figure 2.  Higher values on the y-axis indicate larger erectile responses. There  were significant differences  between  groups in  their  re- sponses  to  children,  F(6, 726)  =  8.27,  p <  .0001, as  well  as to adults,  F(6,  726)  =  6.1l,p<  .0001.  As  suggested  by the  analysis of  pedophilic indices, child molesters responded more to child stimuli  than  did nonchild molesters,  ?(726)  =  2.76,  p  <  .01, whereas nonchild molesters responded more to adult stimuli than did  child molesters, ?(726)  =  5.30,  p <  .001.  Incestuous childmolesters responded less than nonincestuous child molesters tochild  stimuli, r(726) =  4.67,  p <  .001,  but did not  differ  in  theirresponses  to  adult stimuli,  t(126)  -  .57,  ns.  Among  the  incestuous child  molesters, extended family members responded more to child stimuli  than  did the  biological fathers  and  stepfathers,  £(726) =  3.54,  p <  .001,  but did not  differ  in their  responses  to  adultstimuli,  r(726)  = 1.73,  ns. We  also examined  the  identification  of  sexual deviance fromphallometric responding  (see  Table  3). We  selected  two  different criteria;  men were  considered  sexually deviant (a) if they had apedophilic index greater than  -.051,  the value at the 90th percen-tile  of the  community control group,  and (b) if  they  had a  pedo-philic index greater than  -.584,  the value at the 80th percentile inthe community control group (see  Lalumiere  & Quinsey,  1993,  fordetails about this analytic approach).  As  shown  in  Table  3, themixed  offenders  had the  largest proportion  of  sexually deviant(pedophilic)  men.  Biological fathers had the lowest proportion among  the  child  molester groups.  These  values are much lower than  those  found  in  studies that included child molesters with malevictims or examined responses to male stimuli (Freund &  Blan-chard,  1989).  It  should also  be  noted that  the  cutoffs  used  in  this study  were not obtained using the same methods reported by Freund and  Watson (1991). Finally, if our  hypothesis that biological incest offenders  arelikely  to be sexually deviant is  correct,  we would expect them to be  likely  to  offend  against children other than their daughters. z.u   1 8 0 16   1.4 a: H  1 2 13 uy ta   - e bo b   >  0.4 T3 C  0.2 n n   H  Child Stimuli 1  Adult  Stimuli   T  J r ii ii BF EXT SF EF MIX R P COM  r up Figure  2.  Standardized  responses  to female children and female  adults. BF = biological fathers; EXT = extended  family  members; SF =  stepfa- thers;  EF = extrafamilial child molesters; MIX = mixed  child  molesters; RAP  = rapists; COM = controls recruited  from  the community. The 95% confidence  intervals  for the  means  are  shown  by  error bars.  INCEST OFFENDERS 271 Table 3 Proportions  Across Groups  Identified  as  Sexually Deviant Group cutoff cutoff Biological  incestExtended incest Legal  incestExtrafamilial MixedRapists Controls 7073 87 25464 84 101 14.3 19.216.1 23.2 35.9 4.8 9.928.6 47.9 33.3 40.6 56.3 17.919.8 Examining biological fathers with only daughters  as  victims wouldrestrict the analysis. We therefore compared the groups of childmolesters again  after  reassigning the group of mixed child molest-ers (offenders  with  both related and unrelated victims) according to  their genetic relationships with related victims. Of the 64 mixedchild molesters, 25 had  offended  against a biological daughter,  14 had offended against an extended family member, and 25 had offended  against  a  stepdaughter.  As  before, there  was a  significant overall  difference between groups  in  their relative responding  to children,  F 5,  727)  =  12.96,  p <  .0001.  The  child molestersresponded relatively more than nonchild molesters,  £(727)  = 7.50, p  <  .001.  Unlike the srcinal analysis, incest  offenders  did not differ  from  nonincest offenders against children,  ?(727)  = .09,  ns. Across the three incest  offender  groups, there was no linear trend, t 121)  =  .06,  ns,  but, unlike the srcinal analysis, there was a significant  quadratic trend, with extended incest  offenders  re- sponding relatively more  to  children,  t(727)  =  2.65,  p <  .01.Examining the 95% confidence intervals, all of the child molester groups  had higher pedophilic indices than did the rapists or com-munity  controls. Discussion Incestuous  child molesters showed relatively less sexual interest in  children than did nonincestuous child molesters. However, as a group,  incest offenders were still sexually deviant because they significantly  differed from  the rapists and controls. These resultsadd to the set of findings showing deviant sexual interest in both incestuous  and nonincestuous child molesters. Because a nontrivialproportion of incest offenders were individually identified as sex-ually  deviant,  using  conservative  cutoff  scores,  and  because  rela- tive responding to children is associated with a greater likelihood of  sexual reoffense among child molesters (Hanson & Bussiere,1998),  we  recommend that  the  sexual preferences  of  incest  offend- ers should be routinely assessed using phallometric testing.Biological fathers  are  usually combined with stepfathers  and other incest  offenders  (such  as  uncles  or  grandfathers)  and  then compared  with  extrafamilial  child molesters. To the extent that the incest  group contained a high proportion of biological fathers, thepossibility that  a  study would  find  a  significant difference between incestuous  and nonincestuous child molesters would be increased.Differences  in sample  composition  could  explain,  at  least  in  part, the  heterogeneity of previous findings.The second research question addressed the presence of pedo-philic interest  as a  function  of  genetic relatedness  and  amount  ofcontact  with victims (the former being a proxy measure of thelatter). Among incest offenders, biological fathers have the  closest genetic relationship and, on average, can be presumed to have thehighest amount of early contact with their victims. Because ofinclusive fitness considerations, it is generally not in the geneticinterest of biological fathers to have sexual contact with theirdaughters. We hypothesized that pedophilic interest might disruptor overwhelm inclusive fitness mechanisms, and therefore wepredicted that biological incest  offenders  should be more sexuallyinterested in children than should offenders  with  lesser degrees  ofgenetic relatedness and less contact with their victims. This pre-diction was not supported: Biological fathers were less sexuallyinterested in children than men who offended against extended family  members  and did not  differ from  stepfathers.How then can we explain incestuous behavior committed bybiological fathers?  One  possibility  is  that none  or few of the biological fathers in this study had the presumed early contact withtheir victims, and therefore their inclusive fitness mechanismswere not activated. If this is correct, there is no need to postulatepedophilic interest as a disruptive factor. Future studies shoulddirectly assess the degree of early involvement in the care ofdaughter victims as a  function  of the degree of pedophilic interest.Another  possibility  is that  biological  fathers have limited  access to their preferred sexual partners and subsequently resort to targetslower on their sexual preference gradient (i.e., an arrangement ofpotential targets arranged according to the amount of sexual inter-est they elicit). It has been  found  that men tend to  adjust  theirmating behavior as a  function  of access to partners (e.g., Landolt,Lalumiere, & Quinsey, 1995). Thus, men who prefer adult femalesas sexual partners but who lack opportunity (e.g., because they are not  sufficiently  attractive  to  adult females)  may be  more likely  to have sexual contact with less preferred partners, such as prepu-bescent females. Nonoffending men do show some sexual arousalto prepubertal females (Freund, McKnight, Langevin, &  Cibiri, 1972) and some report sexual fantasies involving children (Smil-janich & Briere,  1996). This  relative deprivation hypothesis couldbe tested with self-report measures of access to sexual partners thathave been recently developed (see Lalumiere, Chalmers, Quinsey,& Seto, 1996; Lalumiere & Quinsey, 1996; Landolt et  al.,  1995). There  were at  least  two limitations to the present study.  First,  theassignment of offenders to groups was based on self-report, withcollateral information available only for the offenders. It is possi-ble that some participants lied because we could not assure their anonymity  and confidentiality because of mandatory reporting requirements. Participants  may  have  offended  against  unidentifiedchild victims that could have changed their group assignment (e.g.,some of the community controls may have had sexual contact withchildren). However, there is no a priori reason to believe that  some offender  groups are more likely to lie than others. Another limi-tation, as mentioned earlier, is that we did not directly assess earlyparental care and involvement. Future studies could more directlyassess parental involvement either through retrospective self-report or collateral reports. This would allow us to more directlytest the relationship between parental involvement in early careamong incest  offenders  and pedophilic interest. References Abel,  G. G.,  Becker,  J. V., Murphy, W. D., & Flanagan, B.  (1981). Identifying  dangerous  child molesters.  In R. B. Stuart (Ed.),  Violent behavior: Social learning  approaches  to  prediction,  management, andtreatment  (pp.  116-137).  New  York:  Brunner/Mazel.
Similar documents
View more...
Search Related
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks