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]