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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012 Jun;200(6):492-4. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318257c4f1.

Hebephilia and the construction of a fictitious diagnosis.

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  • 1Wright Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA.


As mass media and the advertising industry sexualize children at earlier ages, DSM-5 is considering a proposal for a new mental disorder involving sexual attraction to adolescents. Despite the fact that most men are sexually aroused by pubescent teens, some clinicians and researchers believe they have identified a new subgroup of chronically impaired men who are compulsively drawn to older children. We discuss the proposal and conclude that it is insufficiently documented and that with such potentially serious medicolegal consequences, inclusion in the new manual is not advised. Clinically, there are insufficient data showing the construct to be reliable and valid. Forensically, a new diagnosis of hebephilia is likely to be used to justify indefinite civil commitment and other onerous punishments.

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