Also, there is a higher correlation between sexual abuses as a child with females compared to males. The etiology of pedophilia can be attributed to both biological and environmental factors.
Case studies indicate that cerebral dysfunction may be a contributing or dominant factor of pedophilia (Scott, 1984), including problems with self-control, extreme urges, and cognitive distortions.
Overall, through the impact of cerebral dysfunction and traumatic development, the sexual urges and desires for children can become ingrained within a person’s nervous system.
Role of the Brain There is significant evidence that indicate structural abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles (Schiffer, 2008).
These abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles are caused by early neurodevelopmental perturbations (Schiffer, 2008).
The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (f MRIs) and positron emission tomography scans (PET) has revealed that the abnormalities of pedophiles exhibit appear in the frontal and central regions of the brain.
The striatum and orbito frontal cortex control this reward system.
As a result, this contributes to the etiology of pedophilia because a reward deficiency complication disturbs the neurotransmission of dopamine involved in compulsive and addictive behaviors.
Although this is a rare phenomenon, females who meet the DSM-IV criteria for pedophiles display similar cognitive distortions to that of males, such as irrational thoughts.
Some differences, however, do exist among males and females.
Females who exhibit pedophilia tend to suffer from psychiatric disorders or substance abuse problems.
Yet children still remain vulnerable to sexual offenders regardless of their public façade.
The increasing attention on pedophilia has caused many Americans to question what this disorder entails, its characteristics, and what type of treatment should be sought for abusers. Do people choose to be pedophiles or are they born that way? Pedophilia The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) defines pedophilia as recurrent sexually arousing fantasies, impulsive desires, or behaviors involving sexual acts with a child and that occur over a period of at least six months.
Exclusive pedophiles are attracted only to children.