The Internalization of Social Stigma Among Minor-Attracted Persons: Implications for Treatment

Journal article


Swaby, H., Harper, C. A. and Lievesley, R. 2020. The Internalization of Social Stigma Among Minor-Attracted Persons: Implications for Treatment. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 49, p. 1291–1304. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01569-x
AuthorsSwaby, H., Harper, C. A. and Lievesley, R.
Abstract

In this article, we sought to build on existing stigmatization research by examining the extent to which internalized stigmatization (i.e., the personal adoption and incorporation of social views, operationalized as thought suppression—an avoidant coping strategy—and low psychological well-being) among minor-attracted persons (MAPs) may impact upon help-seeking behaviors and their avoidance of children. We adopted a cross-sectional anonymous survey design to recruit a sample of self-identified MAPs (N = 183) from prominent online support fora. We found that increased levels of suppression and lower levels of psychological well-being were associated with lower levels of hope about the future, but higher levels of both shame and guilt about having a sexual interest in minors. Thought suppression was not significantly associated with outcomes related to help-seeking behaviors, but did significantly predict higher rates of actively avoiding children, even after controlling for psychological well-being and other emotional variables. Independently, lower levels of self-reported psychological well-being were associated with a desire for more support and higher rates of actively avoiding children. We explore the potential implications of our data in relation to treating and supporting MAPs within the community, increasing their well-being, and encouraging help-seeking behavior.

Keywordsstigmatization ; minor-attracted persons (MAPs); help-seeking behaviours
Year2020
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Journal citation49, p. 1291–1304
PublisherSpringer
ISSN0004-0002
1573-2800
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01569-x
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-019-01569-x
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01569-x
Output statusPublished
Publication dates10 Jan 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Mar 2023
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