Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be a risk factor for sexual delinquency, according to a recent German study.
D. Blocher and colleagues collected data on 127 males convicted of delinquency involving sexual crimes. They found that 27.6 percent of the delinquents had Wender Utah Rating Scale scores indicating ADHD, compared to only 7.8 percent of non- delinquent control subjects. Fourteen percent of the delinquents had scores indicative of ADHD persisting into adulthood, compared to 3 percent of the controls.
In addition, they say, the criminal activity of the sexual delinquents with histories of childhood ADHD started an average of 10 years earlier than that of those without histories of ADHD. They also found a strong correlation between previous convictions— and in particular, sexual offenses—and a retrospective diagnosis of ADHD symptoms. Antisocial behavior and paraphilias were also seen in approximately one quarter of the delinquents.
The researchers conclude that "in addition to paraphilias the presence of ADHD symptoms might be an important vulnerability factor for sexual delinquency, especially when there is a persistence into adulthood."
"Symptome aus dem Spektrum des hyperkinetischen Syndroms bei Sexualdelinquenten" ("Symptoms of the spectrum of hyperkinetic syndromes in sexual delinquents"), D. Blocher, K. Henkel, W. Retz, P. Retz-Junginger, J. Thome, and M. Rösler, Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie, Vol. 69, 2001, 453-9. Address: D. Blocher, Abteilung fur Forensische Psychiatrie der Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.