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Psychiatry Res. 2004 Jan 1;121(3):271-80.

Adult psychopathic personality with childhood-onset hyperactivity and conduct disorder: a central problem constellation in forensic psychiatry.

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Department of Forensic Psychiatry and Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden


To describe lifetime mental disorders among perpetrators of severe inter-personal crimes and to identify the problem domains most closely associated with aggression and a history of repeated violent criminality, we used structured interviews, clinical assessments, analyses of intellectual functioning, medical and social files, and collateral interviews in 100 consecutive subjects of pretrial forensic psychiatric investigations. Childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorders [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), learning disability, tics and autism spectrum disorders] affected 55% of the subjects and formed complex comorbidity patterns with adult personality disorders [including psychopathic traits according to the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R)], mood disorders and substance abuse. The closest psychiatric covariates to high Lifetime History of Aggression (LHA) scores and violent recidivism were the PCL-R scores and childhood conduct disorder (CD). Behavioral and affective PCL-R factors were closely associated with childhood AD/HD, CD, and autistic traits. The results support the notion that childhood-onset social and behavioral problems form the most relevant psychiatric symptom cluster in relation to pervasive adult violent behavior, while late-onset mental disorders are more often associated with single acts of violent or sexual aggression.

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