Exploring the relationship between ADHD symptoms and prison breaches of discipline amongst youths in four Scottish prisons Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) and violent and non-violent prison breaches of discipline in incarcerated male youths aged 18-21 years. STUDY DESIGN: A case-control study of 169 male youth offenders incarcerated in Scottish prisons and classified as 'symptomatic' or 'non-symptomatic' of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive ADHD symptoms. METHODS: ADHD symptoms were measured using the Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scales-Self Report: Long Version, and prison breaches of discipline were gathered from the Scottish Prison Service's Prisoner Records System. RESULTS: Youths who were symptomatic of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) ADHD total symptoms had a significantly higher number of prison breaches of discipline than those who were non-symptomatic. Youths who were symptomatic of DSM-IV hyperactive/impulsive symptoms had a significantly higher number of violent and non-violent prison breaches of discipline than those who were non-symptomatic. However, no such significant difference was found between youths who were symptomatic and non-symptomatic of DSM-IV inattentive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Young male offenders who are symptomatic of ADHD have a higher number of prison breaches of discipline. In particular, symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity are associated with breaches of both a violent and non-violent nature. Implications of such symptoms on rehabilitation and recidivism are discussed.

publication date

  • April 2012