Likely due to strict rules in ethics committees regarding minors in research, MAPs who are themselves minors are an understudied and underrepresented population in research. Nonetheless, they are a discrete category (Beier et al., 2016), as most MAPs discover their attraction well before they are legal adults (AACAP, 1999; Abel & Harlow, 2001; Farella, 2002; Freund & Kuban, 1993; Johnson, 2002; Houtepen, Sijtsema, & Bogaerts, 2015; B4U-ACT, 2011b; Tozdan & Briken, 2015; Seto, 2012; Bailey, Hsu, & Bernhard, 2016). This makes them a critical population not only for research, but as potential recipients of mental health services.
Self-discovery of one’s MAP identity is often (though not always) accompanied by negative emotions (Cash, 2016). For many, these negative emotions are strong enough to prompt suicidal ideation or suicide attempts (B4U-ACT, 2011). Despite this, few programs provide services for minor MAPs, and those that do often stigmatize them and endanger their mental health by treating them as risks to be managed rather than as valuable young people to be helped (Beier et al., 2016), an approach which various researchers reinforce (Houtepen, Sijtsema, & Bogaerts, 2015; Goode, 2010, pp. 189-190; Shields, Benelmouffok, & Letourneau, 2015). Some researchers have begun advocating for treatment that focuses on the minor MAP individual’s needs as a primary goal instead of prevention, however (Nobrega, 2016; Freimond, 2009).
Abel, G. & Harlow, N. (2001) The Stop Child Molestation Book. Xlibris.
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B4U-ACT. (2011). YOUTH, SUICIDALITY, AND SEEKING CARE. Retrieved from https://www.b4uact.org/research/survey-results/youth-suicidality-and-seeking-care/.
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Beier, K.M., Oezdemir, U.C., Schlinzig, E., Groll, A., Hupp, E., & Hellenschmidt, T. (2016). “Just dreaming of them”: The Berlin Project for Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse by Juveniles (PPJ). Child Abuse & Neglect, 52, 1-10.
Cash, B.M. (2016). Self-Identifications, Sexual Development, and Wellbeing in Minor-Attracted People: An Exploratory Study (Master’s thesis). Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Farella, C. (2002). The unthinkable problem of pedophilia. Nursing Spectrum. July 1, 2002. Retrieved from http://community.nursingspectrum.com/MagazineArticles/article.cfm?AID=7084.
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Freund, K. & Kuban, M. (1993). Toward a testable developmental model of pedophilia: The development of erotic age preference. Child Abuse & Neglect, 17, 315-324.
Goode, S. (2010). Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children: A study of paedophiles in contemporary society. Oxford, UK: Routledge.
Houtepen, J.A.B.M., Sijtsema, J.J., & Bogaerts, S. (2015). Being Sexually Attracted to Minors: Sexual Development, Coping With Forbidden Feelings, and Relieving Sexual Arousal in Self-Identified Pedophiles. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 00(00), 1-21. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2015.1061077.
Johnson, M. (2002). Cases force hard look at puzzle of pedophilia. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. May 27, 2002. Retrieved from http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=46065.
Nobrega, J.M.D. (2016). Pedophilia in Youth: Most Beneficial Treatment and Prevention of Child Sexual Exploitation. Relational Child & Youth Care Practice, 29(4), 40-54.
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Shields, R.T., Benelmouffok, A., & Letourneau, E.J. (2015, October 15). Help Wanted: Lessons on Prevention from Non-Offending Young Adult Pedophiles. Poster presented at the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Conference. Montreal, CA.
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