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Diminished fronto-limbic connectivity in non-pedophilic child sexual offenders

Kneer, J1; Sinke, C1; Kaergel, C2; Borchardt, V3; Gibbels, C1; Engel, J1Veit, M1; Walter, M3; Krueger, THC1

1: Hannover Medical School, Germany; 2: University Duisburg-Essen, Germany; 3: Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany

Objective(s): Child sexual offending remains a worldwide concern and states a relevant risk factor for the development of a wide range of behavioral, psychological and sexual problems and increased rates of suicidal behavior. Most research focused on the negative mental health consequences of child sexual abuse. In contrast, very little is known about the characteristics of child sexual offenders and the neuronal underpinnings contributing to child sexual offending.

Material and method(s): The current study is the first to investigate differences in resting state functional connectivity between non-pedophilic child sexual offenders (N = 20; CSO-P) and matched healthy controls (N = 20; HC) using a seed-based approach. The predominant region of interest in this investigation of resting state functional connectivity in CSO-P is on prefrontal and limbic regions which are highly relevant for emotional and behavioral control.

Result(s): First results indicate that both areas related to emotional processing and behavioral control show reduced functional connectivity during rest in CSO-P compared to HC.

Conclusion(s): These results underscore the importance of strong functional connectivity between these structures, assuming top-down inhibitory control of the prefrontal cortex over limbic structures. Further research regarding the interaction between emotional and behavioral control is needed and may contribute to a better understanding of the occurrence of child sexual abuse and may lead to more differentiated and effective diagnostics and treatment.


Work supported by industry: no.

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