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Psychopathy traits in adolescents with childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Fowler, Tom Alan, Langley, Kate ORCID:, Rice, Frances ORCID:, Whittinger, Naureen, Ross, Kenny, van Goozen, Stephanie Helena Maria ORCID:, Owen, Michael John ORCID:, O'Donovan, Michael Conlon ORCID:, van den Bree, Marianne Bernadette ORCID: and Thapar, Anita ORCID: 2009. Psychopathy traits in adolescents with childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry 194 (1) , pp. 62-67. 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.046870

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Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are thought to be at higher risk of psychopathy. Early biological and social adversity may contribute to this risk. Aims To examine psychopathy traits in ADHD. Method In a sample of children with ADHD who had reached adolescence, total psychopathy and ‘emotional-dysfunction’ scores (e.g. callousness, lack of affect) were assessed using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Youth Version. Results A total of 156 (79%) eligible families participated. Total psychopathy and emotional-dysfunction scores were elevated in comparison to published UK norms but none scored in the clinical range for psychopathy. Adjusting for associated conduct problems, total psychopathy scores were associated with maternal smoking during pregnancy, emotional-dysfunction scores were associated with birth complications, and neither was associated with family adversity. Conclusions Children with ADHD show psychopathy traits but are not ‘ psychopaths’. Early adversity, indexed by pre- or perinatal adversity but not family factors, appears to be associated.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists
ISSN: 0007-1250
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2022 14:10

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