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  1. Michael C. Seto

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0651

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Seto, M. C. 2010. Pedophilia. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and University of Toronto

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Pedophilia is typically defined as sexual attraction to prepubescent children, reflected in a person's sexual thoughts, fantasies, urges, sexual arousal, or behavior regarding children (American Psychiatric Association, 2000; World Health Organization, 1997). There are two key aspects to emphasize in this definition: first, the sexual interest in children is persistent, and second, the children of interest are prepubescent and thus show few or no signs of secondary sexual development. This means that someone who has expressed a sexual interest in children or who has engaged in sexual behavior involving a child is not necessarily a pedophile. It also means that individuals who are attracted to sexually maturing children or sexually mature adolescents, even if they are below the legally defined age of consent, are unlikely to be pedophiles.


  • diagnosis;
  • etiology;
  • interventions;
  • paraphilias