Scientific status of the concept of continuing emotional propensity for sexually aberrant acts

Richard I. Lanyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Continuing emotional propensity for sexually aberrant acts and similar concepts have a central role in the prosecution of sex offenders. This article examines the theoretical and scientific viability of such concepts, focusing on child molestation. It is shown that neither theoretical nor scientific underpinnings exist, although there is broad clinical agreement on the existence in some offenders of 'something more' than just a pattern of continuing behavior. Both the DSM-IV and addiction models of sex offending capture this viewpoint, and it is suggested that clinical/forensic assessment for the presence of a continuing emotional propensity rely on these sources until a scientific foundation can be laid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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