Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 325-347

First online:

Contribution of ADHD symptoms to substance problems and delinquency in conduct-disordered adolescents

  • Laetitia L. ThompsonAffiliated withUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • , Paula D. RiggsAffiliated withUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • , Susan K. MikulichAffiliated withUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • , Thomas J. CrowleyAffiliated withUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences Center

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We examined adolescents with conduct disorder (CD) and substance problems to determine if those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomatology had more severe delinquency and substance involvement. ADHD symptomatology was assessed in two ways: (1) by self-reports using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC) and (2) by use of DISC plus reports of others (parents, program staff, and program teacher). We divided boys into three ADHD groups based on DISC: those who met criteria, those who reported at least eight current symptoms, and those who reported fewer than eight symptoms. We also divided the same boys into two groups: those with reports of ADHD by two or more sources and those without this multisource ADHD. Examining these definitions of ADHD revealed that boys with either self- or multisource ADHD had more CD symptoms, earlier age of CD onset, more substance dependence diagnoses, and more comorbid depression and anxiety.