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Ask the Mental Health Expert Archives 2001-2004

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Q. Is there any correlation between autism and pedophilia? Any correlation between pedophilia and any developmental disability, i.e. mental retardation?

A. I am not aware of any correlation between autism per se and pedophilia, nor did my literature search turn up any studies showing such a correlation. There is some evidence correlating low intellectual function with a homosexual/pedophilic orientation. Thus, Blanchard et al (Arch Sex Behav 1999 Apr;28(2):111-27) investigated sexual orientation in 991 male sexual offenders. They found that among pedophiles in general, erotic preference moves away from adult women and toward boys as a function of worsening intellectual deficiency. (High maternal age was also correlated with this trend).

If you want to pursue this study further, you may want to contact Dr. Blanchard at the Clinical Sexology Program, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [blanchardr@cs.clarke-inst.on.ca]. I think it must also be noted that individuals with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities may themselves be victims of sexual abuse, and may find it hard to communicate this to others. For more on that, see McCreary & Thompson, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, May 1999.

May 2001

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