Correlates of Chronic Suicidal Ideation Among Community-Based Minor-Attracted Persons

Lisa J. Cohen, Sherilyn Wilman-Depena, Shira Barzilay, Mariah Hawes, Zimri Yaseen, Igor Galynker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elevated suicidal risk has been documented in adults who are sexually attracted to minors but the topic has not been adequately investigated, particularly outside the context of the criminal justice system. In this study, risk factors for chronic suicidal ideation were assessed in 333 community-based minor-attracted persons (95% male) via an online survey. Chronic suicidal ideation was endorsed by 38.1% of the participants but was associated neither to history of sexually engaging with a child nor to prior contact with the criminal justice system. In bivariate logistic regression analyses, significant unadjusted correlates included young age, less education, prior mental health treatment, weaker attraction to adult women, history of sexual abuse in the participants’ own childhood, and the psychosocial effect of perceived stigma against pedophilia. In multivariable analysis, all these factors except education were uniquely associated with suicidal ideation. These results identify meaningful clinical risk factors and treatment targets in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-300
Number of pages28
JournalSexual Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • child sexual abuse
  • pedophilia
  • sexual abuse
  • suicidal ideation
  • suicide

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • General Medicine
  • General Psychology


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