Problems with the DSM-IV Diagnosis of Pedophilia

Problems with the DSM-IV Diagnosis of Pedophilia This paper examines the taxonomic adequacy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th ed., DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) diagnostic category of pedophilia. This diagnosis, as well as the other sexual disorders, have been ignored in DSM field trials. There is no empirical information about the reliability or validity of this diagnosis. Moreover, because the vagueness of the diagnostic criteria, clinicians would need to make inferences that would likely lead to reliability problems in diagnosis. Further, the DSM diagnostic criteria include constructs that are not intersubjectively verifiable and for which there are no valid measures. This can also lead to lack of diagnostic reliability and accuracy. Most problematical however, there are aspects of the diagnostic criteria, most notably the presence of an “ego dystonic sexual attraction to children,” that are incorrect exclusion criteria. Suggestions for improvement are provided. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

Problems with the DSM-IV Diagnosis of Pedophilia

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Sexual Behavior; Psychiatry; Clinical Psychology; Criminology and Criminal Justice, general
ISSN
1079-0632
eISSN
1573-286X
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1009586023326
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper examines the taxonomic adequacy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th ed., DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) diagnostic category of pedophilia. This diagnosis, as well as the other sexual disorders, have been ignored in DSM field trials. There is no empirical information about the reliability or validity of this diagnosis. Moreover, because the vagueness of the diagnostic criteria, clinicians would need to make inferences that would likely lead to reliability problems in diagnosis. Further, the DSM diagnostic criteria include constructs that are not intersubjectively verifiable and for which there are no valid measures. This can also lead to lack of diagnostic reliability and accuracy. Most problematical however, there are aspects of the diagnostic criteria, most notably the presence of an “ego dystonic sexual attraction to children,” that are incorrect exclusion criteria. Suggestions for improvement are provided.

Journal

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and TreatmentSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 8, 2004

References

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