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J Pers Disord. 2005 Feb;19(1):94-101.

Linking adult psychopathy with childhood hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention problems and conduct problems through retrospective self-reports.

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  • 1Center for Developmental Research, Department of Behavioral, Social, and Legal Sciences, Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden. peter.johansson@bsr.oru.se

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to test whether adult criminals with psychopathy diagnoses, more than those without, have histories of hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention problems (HIA) and conduct problems (CP). We compared psychopathic and nonpsychopathic violent criminal offenders on retrospective reports of conduct problems before the age of 15 and hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention problems before the age of 10. We used a sample of 186 adult men sentenced to prison in Sweden for 4 years or more for violent, nonsexual crimes. The mean age was 30.7( SD = 9.4). The results showed that a combination of childhood HIA problems and CP was typical for adult psychopathic offenders. They were four times more likely than chance to have had a combination of HIA problems and CP during childhood and only one-fifth as likely than chance to have had neither problem. Nonpsychopathic offenders, on the other hand, were five times more likely than chance to have had neither problem and only one-quarter as likely than chance to have had both problems.

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