Primary health professionals’ beliefs, experiences, and willingness to treat minor attracted persons

Lievesley, R. ORCID: 0000-0003-4957-258X, Swaby, H. ORCID: 0000-0002-6292-2110, Harper, C.A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3172-0129 and Woodward, E., 2022. Primary health professionals’ beliefs, experiences, and willingness to treat minor attracted persons. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51 (2), pp. 923-943. ISSN 0004-0002

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There is a desire and need among minor attracted persons (MAPs) to access support within the community, and this often begins with an approach to healthcare providers working in general medical/mental health settings. However, little is known about the experiences of these non-specialist professionals in relation to their beliefs, knowledge, and decision-making processes when working with patients who disclose sexual attractions to children. Using an online survey, this study explored the knowledge, comfort, competence, and treatment willingness of 220 non-specialist healthcare providers when faced with patients who disclose sexual attractions to children. We investigated how often such disclosures were made, clinician stigma, treatment priorities, and professionals’ willingness to report MAPs to external agencies because of their sexual attractions. Some key differences were found when comparing primary medical vs mental health professionals, including increased likelihood to view MAPs as dangerous, unable to control behaviors and that sexual attractions are an avoidable choice, in the former group. Both groups prioritized mental health treatment targets above controlling attractions and living with stigmatized attractions, although controlling or changing attractions were still relatively high priorities. Results indicated a need for further training, focusing on increasing comfort around working with MAPs, as this was associated with a greater willingness to work with this group. We identify current gaps in service provision for MAPs seeking professional support and discuss recommendations for professional training.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Archives of Sexual Behavior
Creators: Lievesley, R., Swaby, H., Harper, C.A. and Woodward, E.
Publisher: Springer
Date: February 2022
Volume: 51
Number: 2
ISSN: 0004-0002
Rights: This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 04 Jan 2022 17:13
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2023 16:04

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