Reliability and validity of the DSM-IV-TR and proposed DSM-5 criteria for pedophilia: Implications for the ICD-11 and the next DSM Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We tested the inter-rater reliability and criterion-related validity of the DSM-IV-TR pedophilia diagnosis and proposed DSM-5 pedohebephilia diagnosis in a sample of 79 men who had committed child pornography offenses, contact sexual offenses against children, or who were referred because of concerns about whether they had a sexual interest in children. Participants were evaluated by two independent psychiatrists with an interview and questionnaire regarding demographic characteristics, sexual history, and self-reported sexual interests; they also completed phallometric and visual reaction time testing. Kappa was .59 for ever meeting DSM-IV-TR criteria for pedophilia and .52 for ever meeting the proposed DSM-5 criteria for pedohebephilia. Ever meeting DSM-IV-TR diagnosis was significantly related to self-reported index of sexual interest in children (highest AUC=.81, 95% CI=.70-.91, p<.001) and to indices of sexual interest in children from phallometric testing (AUC=.70; 95% CI=.52-.89; p<.05) or a computerized assessment based on visual reaction time and self-report (AUC=.75; 95% CI=.62-.88; p<.005). Ever meeting the proposed DSM-5 "diagnosis" was similarly related to self-report (AUC=.84, 95% CI=.74-.94, p<.001) and to the two objective indices, with AUCs of .69 (95% CI=.53-.85; p<.05) and .77 (95% CI=.64-.89; p<.001), respectively. Because the pDSM-5 criteria did not produce significantly better reliability or validity results and users are more familiar with the current DSM-5 criteria, we believe these results suggest the revision of DSM-5 and development of ICD-11 could benefit from drawing on the current DSM-5 criteria, which are essentially the same as DSM-IV-TR except for a distinction between having a paraphilia (the interest) and a paraphilic disorder (the paraphilia plus clinically significant distress or impairment).


  • Seto, Michael C
  • Fedoroff, J Paul
  • Bradford, John
  • Knack, Natasha
  • Rodrigues, Nicole C
  • Curry, Susan
  • Booth, Brad
  • Gray, Jonathan
  • Cameron, Colin
  • Bourget, Dominique
  • Messina, Sarina
  • James, Elizabeth
  • Watson, Diane
  • Gulati, Sanjiv
  • Balmaceda, Rufino
  • Ahmed, Adekunle G

publication date

  • November 2016