Adult Attachment Disorders In Sexual Offenders- On Pedophilia
A research on the topic of pedophiles as an “adult attachment” is an interesting and important subject since it has become a major focus of psychiatry in recent years. Researches propagate several theories about the condition and risks of the ‘illness’ and how it can be effectively cured and treated. More importantly, people have questioned if in fact, the condition could be effectively cured (Campo-Flores 2002).
The lack of sufficient knowledge of people about the exact conditions behind the occurrence of pedophilia in the population has made studies really difficult. First, people who may have pedophilia have difficulty seeking treatment because of the negative impression and the social stigma that they may have to carry all throughout their lives (Cloud 2002). Second, even if people who have the condition want to actually commit themselves into treatment, there is relatively a scarcity of institutions that would effectively handle such treatments.
The lack of effective government recognition of the prevalence of the conditions has made treatment of those who are suffering from pedophilia quite scarce and difficult. Clinicians have argued that there seem to be some political barrier that would help the research on pedophilia gain government support (Campo-Flores 2002).
Pedophilia: A Background
The issue of pedophilia has been almost unspeakable in our society. Just thinking about the realities of such acts would make anyone cringe just thinking about it. It has been portrayed to focus on acts within the Catholic Church. This kind of representation only makes people think of pedophilia as occurring only in religious institutions. This discounts the fact of the occurrence of pedophilia on diverse situations and demography (Campo-Flores 2002).
There is, for example a Chicago nurse molesting almost 18 child patients. There is also a social worker that molested nine children multiple times. In fact, the social worker even videotaped the sexual act (Cloud 2002). These kinds of incidences show that indeed the occurrence of child sexual abuse perpetrated by adults could occur in practically any situation.
Review of Literature
Kear-Colwell and Boer relates that the approaches in treating pedophiles leave much to be desired. The authors maintain that the process of confrontation during treatment may not be as therapeutic as possible. In fact, it can even be countertherapeutic requiring more supportive help especially in the beginning stages (Kear-Colwell and Boer 2000).
Janssen’s (2002) describes the “cultural variations in the developmental curricularization of eroticism.” The author mentions that Western eroticism in some ways are legitimised within peer subcultures instead of referring it within the family. (Janssen, D.F. Oct. 2002).
There are several treatment methods that are also being used according to author Crawford (1981). There is the use of hormones and drugs such as estrogen, benperidol, cyproterone acetate, the use of psychoanalysis which is based on the assumption that pedophilia is related to the Oedipus complex; assertiveness training, a method based on the assumption that pedophiles would much rather prefer children because they see adults as threatening; Behavior modification techniques, orgasmic reconditioning, biofeedback, social skills training, and sex education (Crawford 1981).
Even Hudson and Ward (1997) offers the observation demonstrating the combination of the offender type, attachment style and other variables come into play in the issue such as when it reveals that the preoccupiedly and fearfully attached men are the most lonely while the dismissingly attached ones score high on fear of intimacy, anger suppressions and expression. This has a big role in the attachment perspective (Hudson and Ward 1997).
Psychiatrists thus were able to point out some diagnoses, which could point out the kind of patterns that would signify the presence of the disease. Psychiatrists were also able to point out that the prevalence of the disease is estimated to be around 4 percent of the total population. Diagnosis of pedophilia merely indicates the sexual desire of a person but it does not indicate any form of actual action committing the desire.
Child sexual abuse is not all committed through people with pedophilia. A significant number of child sexual abusers are actually not attracted sexually to children. A 1999 incident have shown that 93000 children in the United States are sexually abused. The year 2000 estimate have shown a decline of almost one-third, which is a positive sign that there is a significant intervention happening in terms of controlling sexual abuse (Campo-Flores 2002).
In a study by Bogaerts S, Vanheule S, Desmet M. (2006), it reveals that “adult attachment styles and personality disorders share a common underlying structure.” The study outlays that there is very little differences between the securely and the insecurely attached child molesters.
Thus, the schizoid personality disorder has some distinct differences when the securely and the insecurely attached child molesters are compared. This is important to note because it is needed in the treatment of child molesters. Thus, there are more challenges in terms of future research along this line of determining the patterns of attachment in relationship to personality development (Bogaerts et al. 2006).
In a self-report study of nonpedophiles of Briere and Runtz (1989) they seek to determine the prevalence of arousal for such sexual action for nonpedophiles. The study has used 200 samples of male university students. In this survey self-report, 21 percent of the samples have admitted to actually having some sexual fantasies with children; another five percent have admitted that they have masturbated with the fantasies of having sex with children; finally seven percent of the respondents admitted that they might have sex with children if there is no possibility of being caught (Briere and Runtz 1989).
Research Strategies & Methodologies In Exploring this Area
Despite the conditions of hope that pedophiles could be cured, scientists and researches have emerged with the consensus that the condition is not curable. Thus many have emerged with strategies of countering the acting out of then abnormal desires through effective treatment programs. The focus of these treatment programs has been on preventing the occurrence of desire and control of the desire through non-drug therapy and drug therapy.
Strategies to avoid acting out their sexual urges have been implemented in many treatment programs. Some of the primary medications that have been used include anti-depressants and other drugs that would reduce sexual appetites. Depo-provera is an example of such drug and this is commonly prescribed for patients undergoing treatment from pedophilia (Campo-Flores 2002).
Acts of deviance vary in how serious they are believed to be. Some generate strong public disapproval, while others are shrugged off. People who commit acts of deviance looked upon as very serious are often negatively labeled as “nuts,” “crook,” or “pervert.” There are different strategies and methodologies regarding this issue. Studies are different and indicate that sexual desires for children are present in significant numbers of the population.
These studies and methodologies still lack any form of substantial concreteness that may lend a clear perspective on the condition. The problems with the researches on the condition are that the sample is not nationally and demographically distributed and therefore certainty is quite difficult to derive from the results.
There is a need to have a national demographic survey that would sufficiently describe the conditions of substantial population. In addition to this, this type of research would need vast amount of funding in order to materialize. With difficulties in gaining funding support, it is quite difficult to actually extend the research effectively (Campo-Flores 2002).
Key Findings on Past Research
In terms of discussions regarding the problem of pedophilia, the literature regarding the topic is filled with some problems that make it possible to have quite a broken impact on the kinds of strategies that could be used in helping those who have the deviant sexual desire. First, there is a need to recognize that the media always sensationalize the issue through disproportionate effort of pointing out that it is the catholic church particularly the priests who actually commits the crime.
This hides the fact that the sexual desire to have sexual relations with a child is distributed across different demographics. This kind of media representation helps perpetuate the idea that this is not really a national concern. In addition to this, it helps non-priests perpetrators to have the incentive to actually act out their desire without the prying eyes of the media.
The second problem is that there is a growing literature that is arguing that it is not a mental illness. If one would read the literature, there are lots of these kinds of literature in many journals.
The problem is that they are arguing that there are cultures who consider child-adult act as acceptable without any discussions on the impact of such practice on the development of the child. The current perspective on child-adult sexual act is based on the fact that this really has some important negative impacts on the development of the child, which would only develop in their adult life. In addition to this, discussions are all focused on children-adults sexual relationships with children aged 11-13. These literatures have obviously avoided questions of child aged as young as two years old. Pedophilia today could occur to children as young as two or three.
These problems have helped in making the scientific community less solid in terms of their perspective on the problem. Indeed, pedophilia is not curable. Literatures and clinical studies have shown from time to time that they are not curable. In order to effectively call for government support, it is very important that the scientific community becomes solid on their perspective regarding the condition.