Paraphilic Interests: The Role of Psychosocial Factors in a Sample of Young Adults in Hong Kong

Abstract

Background

Little is known about the prevalence and nature of paraphilic interests in the Hong Kong young adult population. This study explores the psychosocial factors associated with paraphilic interests.

Methods

Testing the propositions of several criminological theories (i.e., the theories of self-control, general strain, social learning, social control, and routine activity), the study recruited 1171 participants (18–40 years old), from September 2018 through April 2020, to examine both general and 14 subtypes of paraphilic interest (i.e., voyeurism, exhibitionism, scatologia, fetishism, transvestic fetishism, frotteurism, sadism, masochism, biastophilia, urophilia, scatophilia, hebephilia, pedophilia, and zoophilia).

Results

The findings indicate that males reported significantly higher levels of general and 12 subtypes of paraphilic interest than females, while females had a higher level of transvestic fetishism than males. No mean difference is found between males and females in interest in masochism. Relative to females, males reported significantly higher levels of negative temperament, alcohol and drug use, and risky sexual behavior, whereas females had higher levels of self-control, social bonds, and perceived neighborhood disorganization than males. Multivariate analyses indicate that in general, high levels of negative temperament, alcohol and drug use, risky sexual behavior, and perceived neighborhood disorganization and low levels of self-control and social bonds were important factors associated with the participants’ likelihood of having general and 14 subtypes of paraphilic interest.

Conclusions

These findings provide support to the significant role of psychosocial factors in understanding different paraphilic interests in the Hong Kong young adult population.

Policy Implications

This study has implications for practice, in the form of reducing, if not eliminating, the tendency to develop an interest in paraphilic behaviors. This may be more important when referring to paraphilic behaviors that are criminally oriented.

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Funding

This work was supported by the Strategic Research Grant (SRG) funded by City University of Hong Kong (CityU 7004958).

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Correspondence to Heng Choon (Oliver) Chan.

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Chan, H.C.(. Paraphilic Interests: The Role of Psychosocial Factors in a Sample of Young Adults in Hong Kong. Sex Res Soc Policy (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00532-z

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Keywords

  • Paraphilic interest
  • Paraphilic behavior
  • Paraphilia
  • Psychosocial factor
  • Young adult