Public Release: 

Are some men predisposed to pedophilia?

Lower average height of pedophiles reinforces theory of a biological cause

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

October 22, 2007 (TORONTO) - Height may point to a biological basis for pedophilia, according to new research released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study found that pedophilic males were shorter on average than males without a sexual attraction to children.

The study, published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, suggests that pedophiles may have been exposed to pre-birth conditions that affected their physical development. The researchers observed this height difference by analyzing the files of over 1,000 men who were assessed for pedophilia or other sexual disorders between 1995 and 2006 at the Kurt Freund Laboratory in Toronto, Canada.

A difference in average height is a trait found in other illnesses with biological links. The average difference in height was two centimeters, which is similar to the shorter height associated with schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease.

Further research is necessary, but this finding re-enforces evidence that pedophilia has a biological cause, possibly related to brain development before birth.

"This research does not mean that pedophiles are not criminally responsible for their behavior," said Dr. James Cantor, CAMH Psychologist and lead researcher on the study, "but the discovery of biological markers for pedophilia has important implications for future study and possibly treatment."

This study adds to previous research from this team that found pedophiles have lower IQs, are three times more likely to be left-handed, failed school grades significantly more frequently, and suffered more head injuries as children.

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The Kurt Freund Laboratory was established in 1968 and remains one of the world's foremost centres for the research and diagnosis of pedophilia and other sexual disorders.

For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Michael Torres, Media Relations, CAMH at (416) 595-6015.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's leading addiction and mental health teaching hospital. Integrating clinical care, scientific research, education, policy development and health promotion, CAMH transforms the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.

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