ADHD Not Linked to Adult Delinquency But Conduct Disorder Is
Emotional and mental disturbances during childhood can sometimes leave a disturbed and lasting impact on the child's mind and this can result in an unhealthy and relatively disturbed adulthood.
The link between delinquency (criminal offence, unlawful act) in the later years of life and a childhood history of conduct disorder and ADHD has been a topic of debate for a long time in the scientific world.
Conduct disorder is a group of behavioral and emotional problems where a child's behavior is aggressive and antisocial or in simpler words, his "conduct" with people around is not in the limits that can be socially accepted.
On the other hand, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic problem of nervous system characterized by inappropriate functioning in the areas of attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. In simpler words, the child's functioning does not match with that of his peers.
Marianne Mordre and a team of other Norwegian researchers investigated to find out if there is a genuine association between the impact of attention (ADHD) and conduct disorder on delinquency later in life. For the study, 541 patients were followed up for a mean of 30 years after being hospitalized.
On compiling the collected data, investigators concluded that the conduct disorder in childhood does appear to have a strong link with later delinquency, alone as well as in combination with hyperactivity. As a startling outcome, criminal misdeed was found to be less interlinked when combined specifically with the hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) alone.
Authors reported that, "Seemingly, results of the study make it possible even at an early age to identify children with a higher risk of developing delinquency."
As a concluding note, the report states that conduct disorder seems to be most strongly linked with criminality in adulthood. Interestingly however, children with ADHD minus conduct disorder were not at a higher risk of delinquency in the later years of life.
Therefore, the finding strengthens the assumption that there is no direct association between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the childhood and criminal behavior later in life.