Monday, January 28, 2013

Sex Hormones Linked With Risk of Committing Sexual Crimes, Study Finds

Elevated levels of the two sex hormones—luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)—predict recidivism among male sex offenders better than do elevated levels of the sex hormone testosterone, report John Bradford, M.D., one of Canada's leading sex-offender experts, and colleagues in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. LH and FSH, which are also referred to as gonadotrophic hormones, are made by the pituitary gland. LH stimulates the testes to produce testosterone. FSH stimulates the testes to make sperm.

"This study is an important one, with a surprising finding that gonadotrophic hormones were better predictors of recidivism for sexual crimes than testosterone," Richard Krueger, M.D., an associate clinicial professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons who has studied sexual offenders, said in an interview with Psychiatric News. 

However, it is doubtful that elevated levels of LH and FSH are alone responsible for sexual crimes, Bradford and colleagues pointed out in their report. So what other factors might contribute to such behavior? Perhaps hostility, the researchers suggested, since they found that hostility was associated with the impact of LH and FSH on recidivism.

For information about research on sexual offenses including pedophilia, see Psychiatric News. Psychological insights into sex offenders can be found in the American Psychiatric Publishing book Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior and Dangerous Sex Offenders: A Task Force Report of the American Psychiatric Association.

(Image: jinga/


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