Vol. 8, No. 2, 2002 Page 1&3

ADHD in prisoners 'problem of great magnitude'

Rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are remarkably high among prison inmates, according to a recent Norwegian study that also found a high prevalence of reading disability and personality disorders in this population.

Kirsten Rasmussen and colleagues evaluated 82 male prisoners convicted of murder, other violent acts, sexual offenses, arson, fraud, theft, drug- or alcohol-related crimes, or serious traffic crimes. Using a range of tests, the researchers calculated the rates of past childhood ADHD, current adult ADD (attention deficit disorder), reading problems, and personality disorders among the subjects. They found that:

In summary, the researchers say, their data indicate that "persistent ADHD, comorbid with both personality disorders and reading disability, constitutes a problem of great magnitude among prisoners." Their findings are consistent with a previous study by A. Dalteg et al., who found that about half of the prison population they studied fulfilled the criteria for childhood ADHD, and that about half of that group had ADHD persisting into adulthood.


"Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, reading disability, and personality disorders in a prison population," Kirsten Rasmussen, Roger Almvik, and Sten Levander, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Vol. 29, 2001, 186- 93. Address: Kirsten Rasmussen, Sör-Tröndelag Psychiatric Hospital, Regional Secure Unit Bröser, P.O. Box 1803 Lade, 7440 Trondheim, Norway, stps- broser@pst.fylkeskom.st.no.

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