NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022
Project ID: SSS29
Minor attraction refers to sexual attractions towards pre-pubertal and / or pubertal children and is related to the clinical paraphilias of paedophilia and hebephilia. Although our understanding of minor attraction has increased due to rapid development of both academic and clinical interest in the field over the last 15 years, most of our understanding is based on the association of paedophilia (as a subset of the broader population of minor-attracted people; MAPs) with offending behaviour. This is due to the historical reliance on offending populations as participants in previous research studies. However, there is a growing awareness of non-offending MAPs who live offence-free in the community, with recent work exploring their experiences of living with sexual attractions to children. Despite this recent attention, we still know relatively little about the differences between offending and non-offending MAPs, including how / why some go on to abuse while others do not.
One theme that has emerged from previous research with this group is the importance of sexual fulfilment / satisfaction through safe and legal sexual outlets. Achieving such fulfilment / satisfaction is regarded by many clinical professionals as a primary human good and is necessary to maintain a healthy sense of self and to live a full life, without which people will seek out inappropriate sexual stimuli. Considering this clinical and theoretical work alongside our existing data from MAPs, it may therefore be that understanding sexual fulfilment / satisfaction is key to understanding how / why some MAPs remain offence-free. To date, this is not something that has been explored empirically, but could have profound implications for how prevention programmes work with MAPs within the community before any offence has been committed.
Specifically, the doctoral candidate on this project will work to understand: (1) how MAPs conceptualise sexual fulfilment / satisfaction within the context of their sexual attractions, (2) how / if MAPs achieve sexual fulfilment / satisfaction, (3) explore the associations between sexual fulfilment / satisfaction and indices of both wellbeing and offending risk, and (4) clinician perspectives on working with MAPs to achieve sexual fulfilment / satisfaction.
The candidate will join a growing team exploring minor attraction at NTU Psychology, and work closely with academic and practice-focused partners throughout the project in order to ensure the translation of their research findings into practice.
For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.
How to apply
For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.
Fees and funding
This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.
Guidance and support
Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.