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The Paraphilia-Related Disorders: An Investigation of the Relevance of the Concept in Sexual Murderers

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Paraphilic disorders (PAs) and sexual preoccupation are known risk factors for recidivism in sexual offenders. Nonparaphilic sexual excessive behaviors—so-called paraphilia-related disorders (PRDs), like paraphilias, are also characterized by sexual preoccupation and volitional impairment and can be diagnosed in paraphilic men. The prevalence and clinical significance of PRDs in sexual homicide perpetrators, however, is unknown. We investigated the relationship between PAs and PRDs retrospectively in a sample of 161 sexual murderers. Four groups were compared: men without a PA or a PRD diagnosis, men with at least one PRD but no PA, men with at least one PA but no PRD, and finally, those with a combination of both (PA+PRD). The PA+PRD group had the most lifetime cumulative sexual impulsivity disorders, more developmental problems, the highest persistent frequency of sexual activity, the highest number of previous sexual offences, more sexual sadism, and compulsive masturbation. Men of the PRD subsample had suffered more from childhood sexual abuse, showed more promiscuity, psychopathy, and alcohol problems. The use of the PRD concept in this special offender group should be further investigated with prospectively designed studies.
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Keywords: forensic psychiatry; forensic science; paraphilia; paraphilia-related disorders; sexual homicide; sexual offender

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Sex Research and Forensic Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Hamburg, Martinistrasse 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany. 2: Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, 115 Mill St., Belmont, MA 02478 and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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