The relationship of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder to
juvenile delinquency: legal implications.
H. A. Foley, C. O. Carlton and R. J. Howell,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
24(3): 333-45, 1996.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder (CD) are both disorders of
childhood and adolescence that all too frequently extend into adulthood. But just what is the
relationship between these two disorders? This study explores the overlap between these two
disorders as they relate to juvenile delinquency; both are significant risk factors for the development
of antisocial behavior. But there is more significance to the presence or absence of ADHD or CD in
later antisocial behavior. Higher levels of defiant and/or aggressive behavior lead to antisocial acts
as compared with lower levels of defiance and antisocial acts. Boys diagnosed with ADHD have
higher felony rates than normal control boys, yet ADHD is not nearly as strong a predictor of
offending behavior as is CD in study subjects. The presence of both CD and ADHD contributes to
illegal behavior, and it is likely that early intervention in both disorders will reduce the prevalence
of antisocial behavior. [References: 44]