Antisocial behavioral syndromes in cocaine and cannabis dependence

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2008;34(4):405-14. doi: 10.1080/00952990802122473.


Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is highly associated with substance use disorders (SUD). In addition to the full ASPD syndrome, which requires both childhood conduct disorder and the adult features, other antisocial behavioral syndromes, including conduct disorder (CD) alone without the adult syndrome, and the adult antisocial behavioral syndrome without childhood CD (AABS) are also frequently diagnosed in patients with SUD. The aim of this study was to compare the rates of these various ASPD syndromes between cocaine- and cannabis-dependent individuals seeking treatment. A structured interview for ASPD excluding symptoms that occurred solely in the context of substance use was conducted in 241 outpatients (cocaine dependence, n = 111; cannabis dependence, n = 130). Overall, the proportion of substance-dependent individuals in this study with AABS was significantly larger than the proportion with ASPD (30.9% vs. 17.3%). A diagnosis of CD-only, where CD did not progress to ASPD, was uncommon. No significant differences in the prevalence of antisocial behavioral syndrome diagnoses were found between cocaine- and cannabis-dependent patients. Antisocial behavioral syndrome diagnosis did not influence treatment retention. Antisocial behavioral syndromes are commonly diagnosed in patients with SUD and future research should evaluate prognostic implications of AABS compared to ASPD in a variety of clinical treatment settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / ethnology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / ethnology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology*
  • Marijuana Abuse / ethnology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence