Adverse childhood experiences in persons with excessive and destructive online behaviour

Abstract

Despite the widespread use of online sexual material in the general population, the overlap of deviant use of online sexual material (child sexual abusive material) with other types of online sex and gaming addictions has remained controversial. The purpose of this study is to determine, how users of child sexual abusive material (CSAM) differ from persons consulting for problematic online sex and for gaming (sociodemographic details, Internet use patterns, adverse childhood experiences). We assessed online addiction criteria and adverse childhood experiences in 479 consecutive patients (57 CSAM, 67 users of online sexual material, 355 online gamers) by standardized self-report questionnaires (AICA, CTS). Patients presenting with CSAM consumption were well-educated, socially and professionally integrated middle-aged men. While the quantity of Internet use was less excessive compared to users of online sexual material and online gamers, their average online use was mostly addictive and disruptive regarding partnership or family. They reported significantly higher rates of own experiences of sexual childhood abuse and emotional neglect compared to gamers. Better understanding of CSAM consumption in the context of online addictions is a prerequisite for developing specific therapeutic approaches. These need to consider addictive behavior as well as sustained childhood adversities, which might lead to these maladaptive coping strategies.

Bibliographic citation

Marx, C. M., Müller, K. W., & Beutel, M. E. (2021). Adverse childhood experiences in persons with excessive and destructive online behaviour. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 15(3), Article 5. doi:https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-3-5

Keywords

Online sex; child sexual abusive material; gaming; childhood maltreatment; behavioral addiction

Full Text:

HTML

References

Show references Hide references

Ahlers, C. J., Schaefer, G. A., Mundt, I. A., Roll, S., Englert, H., Willich, S. N., & Beier, K. M. (2011). How unusual are the contents of paraphilias? Paraphilia-associated sexual arousal patterns in a community-based sample of men. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8(5), 1362–1370. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01597.x

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5™ (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.

Babchishin, K. M., Hanson, R. K., & Hermann, C. A. (2011). The characteristics of online sex offenders: A meta-analysis. Sexual Abuse, 23(1), 92–123. https://doi.org/10.1177/1079063210370708

Bailey, M. J., Bernhard, P. A., & Hsu, K. J. (2016). An Internet study of men sexually attracted to children: Correlates of sexual offending against children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(7), 989–1000. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000213

Bateman, A., & Fonagy, P. (2008). 8-year follow-up of patients treated for borderline personality disorder: Mentalization-based treatment versus treatment as usual. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165(5), 631–638. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07040636

Bateman, A., & Fonagy, P. (2016). Mentalization-based treatment for personality disorder: A practical guide. Oxford University Press.

Beier, K. M., Ahlers, C. J., Goecker, D., Neutze, J., Mundt, I. A., Hupp, E., & Schaefer, G. A. (2009). Can pedophiles be reached for primary prevention of child sexual abuse? First results of the Berlin Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 20(6), 851–867. https://doi.org/10.1080/14789940903174188

Beier, K. M., Amelung, T., Grundmann, D., & Kuhle, L. F. (2015). Pädophilie und Hebephilie im Kontext sexuellen Kindesmissbrauchs [Pedophilia und Hebephilia in the context of child sexual abuse]. Sexuologie, 22(3–4), 127–136.

Beier, K. M., Amelung, T., Kuhle, L., Grundmann, D., Scherner, G., & Neutze, J. (2013). Hebephilie als sexuelle Störung [Hebephilia as a sexual disorder]. Fortschritte Neurologie Psychiatrie, 81(3), 128–137. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0032-1330539

Beier, K. M., Neutze, J., Mundt, I. A., Ahlers, C. J., Goecker, D., Konrad, A., & Schaefer, G. A. (2009). Encouraging self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles to seek professional help: First results of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(8), 545–549. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.04.002

Beier, K. M., Schaefer, G. A., Goecker, D., Neutze, J., Feelgood, S., Hupp, E., Mundt, I., Ahlers, C. J. (2006). Prävention von sexuellem Kindesmissbrauch im Dunkelfeld [Prevention of child sexual abuse in the Dunkefeld]. Sexuologie, 13(2–4), 139–147.

Berry, M. D., & Berry, P. D. (2014). Mentalization-based therapy for sexual addiction: Foundations for a clinical model. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 29(2), 245–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2013.856516

Beutel, M. E., Brähler, E., Glaesmer, H., Kuss, D. J., Wölfling, K., & Müller, K. W. (2011). Regular and problematic leisure-time Internet use in the community: Results from a German population-based survey. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(5), 291–296. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2010.0199

Beutel, M. E., Giralt, S., Wölfling, K., Stöbel-Richter, Y., Subic-Wrana, C., Reiner, I., Tibubos, A. N., & Brähler, E. (2017). Prevalence and determinants of online-sex use in the German population. Plos One, 12(6), Article e0176449. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176449

Briere, J., & Runtz, M. (1989). University males' sexual interest in children: Predicting potential indices of “pedophilia” in a nonforensic sample. Child Abuse & Neglect, 13(1), 65–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/0145-2134(89)90030-6

Bundeskriminalamt. (2016). Jahrbuch 2016 Band 4: Einzelne Straftaten/-gruppen und ausgewählte Formen der Kriminalität [Individual offenses/groups and selected forms of crime]. https://www.bka.de/DE/AktuelleInformationen/StatistikenLagebilder/PolizeilicheKriminalstatistik/PKS2016/pks2016_node.html

Dombert, B., Schmidt, A. F., Banse, R., Briken, P., Hoyer, J., Neutze, J., & Osterheider, M. (2016). How common is males’ self-reported sexual interest in prepubescent children? The Journal of Sex Research, 53(2), 214–223. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2015.1020108

Elliott, I. A., & Beech, A. R. (2009). Understanding online child pornography use: Applying sexual offense theory to internet offenders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14(3), 180–193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2009.03.002

Fydrich, T., Renneberg, B., Schmitz, B., & Wittchen, H.-U. (1997). SKID II. Strukturiertes Klinisches Interview für DSM-IV, Achse II: Persönlichkeitsstörungen. Interviewheft. Eine deutschspeachige, erw. Bearb. d. amerikanischen Originalversion d. SKID-II von: M. B. First, R. L. Spitzer, M. Gibbon, J. B. W. Williams, L. Benjamin (Version 3/96) [SKID I. Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV. Axis I: mental disorders. Interview booklet and assessment booklet. A German-language expanded edition of the original American version of the SKID]. Hogrefe.

Gilbert, R., Spatz Widom, C., Browne, K., Fergusson, D., Webb, E., & Janson, S. (2009). Burden and consequences of child maltreatment in high-income countries. Lancet, 373(9657), 68–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61706-7

Glaesmer, H. (2016). Assessing childhood maltreatment on the population level in Germany: Findings and methodological challenges. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 10, Article 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-016-0104-9

Görgen, T., Rauchert, K., & Fisch, S. (2012). Langfristige Folgen sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger [Long-term consequences of sexual abuse of minors]. Forensische Psychiatrie, Psychologie, Kriminologie, 6(1), 3–16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11757-011-0129-0

Grabe, H. J., Schulz, A., Schmidt, C. O., Appel, K., Driessen, M., Wingenfeld, K., Barnow, S., Spitzer, C., John, U., Berger, K., Wersching, H., & Freyberger, H. J. (2012). Ein Screeninginstrument für Missbrauch und Vernachlässigung in der Kindheit: der Childhood Trauma Screener (CTS). [A brief instrument for the assessment of childhood abuse and neglect: The Childhood Trauma Screener (CTS)]. Psychiatrische Praxis, 39(03), 109–115. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0031-1298984

Hall, G. C. N., Hirschman, R., & Oliver, L. L. (1995). Sexual arousal and arousability to pedophilic stimuli in a community sample of normal men. Behavior Therapy, 26(4), 681–694. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7894(05)80039-5

Internet Watch Foundation. (2017). Statistics and trends 2017. https://annualreport.iwf.org.uk/#statistics_and_trends_2017

Jespersen, A. F., Lalumière, M. L., & Seto, M. C. (2009). Sexual abuse history among adult sex offenders and non-sex offenders: A meta-analysis. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(3), 179–192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.07.004

Kafka, M. P. (2010). Hypersexual disorder: A proposed diagnosis for DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(2), 377–400. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9574-7

Leeb, R. T., Paulozzi, L. J., Melanson, C., Simon, T. R., & Arias, I. (2008). Child maltreatment surveillance: Uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements (Version 1.0). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cm_surveillance-a.pdf

Levenson, J. S., Willis, G. M., & Prescott, D. S. (2016). Adverse childhood experiences in the lives of male sex offenders: Implications for trauma-informed care. Sexual Abuse, 28(4), 340–359. https://doi.org/10.1177/1079063214535819

Marshall, W. A., & Tanner, J. M. (1969). Variations in pattern of pubertal changes in girls. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 44(235), 291–303. https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.44.235.291

Marshall, W. A., & Tanner, J. M. (1970). Variations in the pattern of pubertal changes in boys. Archives of disease in childhood,, 45(239), 13–23. https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.45.239.13

McElroy, E., Shevlin, M., Elklit, A., Hyland, P., Murphy, S., & Murphy, J. (2016). Prevalence and predictors of Axis I disorders in a large sample of treatment-seeking victims of sexual abuse and incest. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 7(1), Article 30686. https://doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v7.30686

Müller, K. W., Beutel, M. E., Dreier, M., & Wölfling, K. (2019). A clinical evaluation of the DSM-5 criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder and a pilot study on their applicability to further Internet-related disorders. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 8(1), 16–24. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.7.2018.140

Müller, K. W., Beutel, M. E., & Wölfling, K. (2014). A contribution to the clinical characterization of Internet addiction in a sample of treatment seekers: Validity of assessment, severity of psychopathology and type of co-morbidity. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 55(4), 770–777. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2014.01.010

Müller, K. W., Glaesmer, H., Brähler, E., Wölfling, K., & Beutel, M. E. (2014). Internet addiction in the general population: Results from a German population-based survey. Behaviour & Information Technology, 33(7), 757–766. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2013.810778

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2018). Child abuse and neglect. https://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/childmaltreatment/

Niveau, G. (2010). Cyber-pedocriminality: Characteristics of a sample of Internet child pornography offenders. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(8), 570–575. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2010.01.011

Prichard, J., Spiranovic, C., Watters, P., & Lueg, C. (2013). Young people, child pornography, and subcultural norms on the Internet. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(5), 992–1000. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.22816

Ray, J. V., Kimonis, E. R., & Seto, M. C. (2014). Correlates and moderators of child pornography consumption in a community sample. Sexual Abuse, 26(6), 523–545. https://doi.org/10.1177/1079063213502678

Ross, M. W., Månsson, S. A., & Daneback, K. (2012). Prevalence, severity, and correlates of problematic sexual Internet use in Swedish men and women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(2), 459–466. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-011-9762-0

Seigfried-Spellar, K. C., & Rogers, M. K. (2013). Does deviant pornography use follow a Guttman-like progression? Computers in Human Behavior, 29(5), 1997–2003. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.04.018

Seto, M.C. (2008). Pedophilia and sexual offending against children: Theory, assessment, and intervention. American Psychological Association.

Seto, M. C., Reeves, L., & Jung, S. (2010). Explanations given by child pornography offenders for their crimes. Journal of Sexual Aggression 16(2), 169–180. https://doi.org/10.1080/13552600903572396

Stoltenborgh, M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Alink, L. R. A., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2015). The prevalence of child maltreatment across the globe: Review of a series of meta-analyses. Child Abuse Review, 24(1), 37–50. https://doi.org/10.1002/car.2353

Stroebel, S. S., O'Keefe, S. L., Beard, K. W., Kuo, S.-Y., Swindell, S. V. S., & Kommor, M. J. (2012). Father-daughter incest: Data from an anonymous computerized survey. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 21(2), 176–199. https://doi.org/10.1080/10538712.2012.654007

Subic-Wrana, C., Tschan, R., Michal, M., Zwerenz, R., Beutel, M. E., & Wiltink, J. (2011). Kindheitstraumatisierungen, psychische Beschwerden und Diagnosen bei Patienten in einer psychosomatischen Universtitätsambulanz [Childhood trauma and its relation to diagnoses and psychic complaints in patients of a psychosomatic university ambulance]. Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik, Medizinische Psychologie, 61(2), 54–61. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0030-1252047

Terminology and Semantics Interagency Working Group on Sexual Exploitation of Children. (2016). Terminology guidelines for the protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. ECPAT International. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Children/SR/TerminologyGuidelines_en.pdf

Weaver, J. B., III., Weaver, S. S., Mays, D., Hopkins, G. L., Kannenberg, W., & McBride, D. (2011). Mental- and physical-health indicators and sexually explicit media-use behavior by adults. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8(3), 764–772. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02030.x

Witt, A., Brown, R. C., Plener, P. L., Brähler, E., & Fegert, J. M. (2017). Child maltreatment in Germany: Prevalence rates in the general population. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 11, Article 47. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-017-0185-0

Wittchen, H.-U., Wunderlich, U., Gruschwitz, S., & Zaudig, M. (1997). SKID I. Strukturiertes Klinisches Interview für DSM-IV. Achse I: Psychische Störungen. Interviewheft und Beurteilungsheft. Eine deutschsprachige, erweiterte Bearb. d. amerikanischen Originalversion des SKID I [English translation]. Hogrefe.

Wölfling, K., Müller, K., & Beutel, M. (2011). Reliabilität und Validität der Skala zum Computerspielverhalten (CSV-S) [Reliability and validity of the scale for the assessment of Pathological Computer Gaming (CSV-S)]. Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik, Medizinische Psychologie, 61(5), 216–224. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0030-1263145

World Health Organization. (2018, September 14). Addictive behaviours: Gaming disorder. https://www.who.int/features/qa/gaming-disorder/en/

Wurtele, S. K., Simons, D. A., & Moreno, T. (2014). Sexual interest in children among an online sample of men and women: Prevalence and correlates. Sexual Abuse, 26(6), 546–568. https://doi.org/10.1177/1079063213503688

Yanos, P. T., Czaja, S. J., & Spatz Widom, C. (2010). A prospective examination of service use by abused and neglected children followed up into adulthood. Psychiatric Services, 61(8), 796–802. https://doi.org/10.1176/ps.2010.61.8.796

Young, K., S. (1998). Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 1(3), 237–244. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.1998.1.237

https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-3-5



Copyright (c) 2021 Marx, Müller, Beutel

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.