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Abstract: Etiology of Sexual Offending: What to Make of Findings from Twin and Family Aggregation Studies

Research yielding solid, causally informative data is essential to inform theory and improve interventions against sexual offending. However, most studies on risk factors for sexual offending used selected, albeit often well-characterized, samples of convicted sex offenders. This entails considerable risks that observed variations in comparison to other offender groups or normal controls reflect differential selection mechanisms rather than truly causal risk factors. Further, observed associations between possible risk factors within offender samples could also be substantially influenced by familial (genetic or early environmental) confounders that introduce bias and may lead to incorrect conclusions. This presentation aims at describing what has been suggested by some recent population-based, epidemiologic studies of sexual offending.


Niklas Långström is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. Having been a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska institutet since 2010, he is now taking on a position as professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Uppsala University. Niklas Långström uses the unique Swedish possibilities to perform epidemiological research with longitudinal, national health and sociodemographic registers. He researches risk factors, correlates, and outcomes of antisocial and other non-normative sexual and nonsexual behavior in young people and adults. Niklas Långström has (co)authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications appearing in high-visibility scientific journals as well as specialized journal like the Archives of Sexual Behavior.