Clinical symptoms of ADHD and psychopathy in perpetrators

Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2013 Mar;5(1):47-57. doi: 10.1007/s12402-012-0095-1. Epub 2012 Nov 9.


ADHD and psychopathy are both associated with poor social adaptation and antisocial behavior. Previous studies have also suggested that ADHD and psychopathy share some symptomatology. The current study attempted to further uncover the relationship between ADHD and psychopathy in perpetrators by investigating the possibility of underlying common factors of ADHD and psychopathy using standardized instruments. Correlation analyses and principal component analyses were performed on ADHD-SB self-rating questionnaires and the PCL-SV from a population of 314 offenders. Further, subjects without ADHD, full ADHD and partially remitted ADHD according to DSM-IV were compared regarding psychopathic traits. ADHD and psychopathy rating scores were found to be correlated. Only psychopathic features related to unstable and antisocial lifestyle, but not related to affective features of psychopathy accounted to this association. Findings on the principal component analysis suggest that ADHD and psychopathy are unrelated on a symptomatic level, with the exception of impulsivity, which is a common feature that seems to combine both constructs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Criminals / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Symptom Assessment*