A 30-year prospective follow-up study of hyperactive boys with conduct problems: adult criminality

James H Satterfield, Katherine J Faller, Francis M Crinella, Anne M Schell, James M Swanson, Louis D Homer
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2007, 46 (5): 601-10

OBJECTIVE: To compare the official arrest records for a large number of hyperactive boys (N = 179), most with conduct problems, and 75 control boys; to examine childhood IQ, socioeconomic status, and parent reports of childhood hyperactivity and conduct problems for their contribution to criminal behavior in adulthood; and to compare adult outcome for multimodality-treated (MMT) and drug-treated-only (DTO) hyperactives.

METHOD: We report on the official arrest history from early to mid- (18 to 38 years of age) adulthood in these 254 white subjects.

RESULTS: Ninety one percent of subjects were followed up. California official arrest records were obtained on all of these subjects. Hyperactive subjects had significantly higher arrest, conviction, and incarceration rates compared with controls. Childhood antisocial behaviors, socioeconomic status, and IQ predicted adult criminality. Multimodality-treated boys with Hyperactive/ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) did not fare better than DTO boys with ADHD.

CONCLUSIONS: Hyperactive/ADHD boys with conduct problems are at increased risk for adult criminality. Hyperactive boys without childhood conduct problems are not at increased risk for later criminality. An intensive 3-year MMT treatment of 6- to 12-year-old hyperactive boys is insufficient to prevent later adult criminality.

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