Characteristics of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and past conduct disorder


Jonathan H. Dowson, Department of Psychiatry, Box 189, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.


Objective:  DSM-IV Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comorbid with DSM-IV conduct disorder (CD) in childhood/adolescence has been proposed as a ‘distinct subtype’. The present study investigated subsequent psychopathological characteristics of this proposed subtype in adults.

Method:  Questionnaires were completed by 71 adults (mean age 29.6 years) with ADHD and their informants.

Results:  The 39 subjects with a history of past CD, when compared with the remaining subjects, were associated with significantly increased ratings of aspects of ADHD-related impulsivity, with features of all three DSM-IV ‘Clusters’ of personality disorders (PDs) (in particular of ‘Cluster B’ PDs) and with other psychopathology. Also, there were significant correlations between the number of endorsed past CD criteria and various self-ratings of psychopathology.

Conclusion:  The results indicate the psychopathological characteristics of adults with a history of the proposed ‘ADHD with CD’ subtype. The findings are relevant to future studies of ADHD subtypes in adults.