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Abstract

One hundred eighty-one men were compared on parent–child relations, using the Clarke Parent–Child Relations Questionnaire. The sample included 66 heterosexual pedophiles, 29 homosexual pedophiles, 36 incest offenders and 50 controls. The offender groups were further divided into those who used force (20%) versus those who did not; into those sexually victimized as children themselves (53.2%) versus those not victimized; and into those physically abused as children (47.5%) versus those not abused. Results showed that the offender groups had more disturbances than controls in father–son relations, contrary to earlier findings showing disturbances in mother–son relations among individuals who interact sexually with minors. The offenders who used force in their offenses differed only in being more aggressive to their fathers as children, but otherwise did not differ from offenders who did not use force in their offenses. Offenders both sexually and physically abused as children showed more disturbances in father relationships than offenders who were not abused during their childhoods. Disturbed parent-child relations undoubtedly leave residual difficulties in sex offenders in later life, but in the present sample, they did not play the expected critical role in explaining the use of force by perpetrators who coerce children into sex.