Offence-supportive cognitions, atypical sexuality, problematic self-regulation, and perceived anonymity among online and contact sexual offenders against children

Sarah Paquette*, Franca Cortoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitions that support sexual offending, atypical sexuality, and problems with self-regulation are important indicators of offending among men who engage in contact sexual offences against children (e.g., Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005). While sexual interest in children—a major indicator of atypical sexuality—has been identified as a risk factor for online sexual offending against children (Seto & Eke, 2015), several other indicators, such as offence-supportive cognitions, sexual preoccupation, sexual coping, and perceived anonymity—a presumed risk factor for online sexual offending—have not yet been investigated among men who use the internet to solicit children or to consume child sexual exploitation material. This study investigated the associations between offence-supportive cognitions, atypical sexuality, self-regulation using sex, and perceived anonymity with sexual offending behaviors against children in a sample of 241 men convicted of various sexual and non-sexual offences. Results from logistic regressions show that offence-supportive cognitions, sexual interests in children, and sexual coping, but not sexual preoccupation and perceived anonymity, are associated with either or both online and contact sexual offending behaviors against children. Our results support the prior finding showing that men with online sexual offences are more paraphilic or sexually preoccupied then men with only contact offences against children. They also suggest that offence-supportive cognitions, atypical sexual interests, and sexual coping may be motivating factors, and therefore relevant risk factors, for online sexual offending against children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2173-2187
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number5
Early online date4 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • offence-supportive cognition
  • pedophilia
  • sexual coping
  • sexual offending against children
  • sexual preoccupation

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