Exhibitionism: Etiology and treatment

C. David Blair, Richard I. Lanyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A review of the literature on exhibitionism yields no empirical support for any particular etiological theory, although the behavioral approach is potentially the most useful. Descriptive studies of exhibitionists suggest characteristics that could provide the basis for further etiological research. In regard to treatment, essentially all the methodologically sound studies are behavioral, and they show that covert sensitization has a relatively high success rate, although the confounding contributions of other factors are insufficiently recognized. Topics for future research include the role of imagery in the etiology and maintenance of exhibitionism, the degree of functional independence of deviant and appropriate arousal, the development of assessment procedures based on multiple criteria, and the further development of treatment models that allow for some individual variability in specific elements of the development and maintenance of the disorder. (115 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-463
Number of pages25
JournalPsychological bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1981


  • etiology & treatment of exhibitionism, literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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