Features of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and antisocial behaviour in a general population-based sample of adults

Haym Dayan, Rachel Shoham, Itai Berger, Mona Khoury-Kassabri, Yehuda Pollak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is known to be a risk factor for antisocial and delinquent behaviour, but there is still a lack of information on how features of ADHD relate to offending behaviour among adults not already defined by their offending. Aims: Our aim was to add to knowledge about relationships between ADHD and antisocial behaviour among adults in the general population by answering the following questions: (A) Does the level of self-reported ADHD features relate to criminal and non-criminal antisocial behaviour? (B) To what extent are self-ratings of ADHD features independent of socio-demographic features previously identified as predictors of antisocial behaviour?. Methods: A sample of adults was originally recruited to study public response to the COVID-19 outbreak through an online panel to be representative of the Israeli population. Among other scales, the 2025 participants completed an ADHD self-report scale, an antisocial behaviour self-report scale and a socio-demographic questionnaire probing for age, gender, urbanity, place of birth, socioeconomic status (education and income), family status (being in a relationship and having children) and religiosity. Results: Higher mean totals for the inattention and hyperactivity ADHD scale scores were associated with higher mean antisocial behaviour scores. These relationships were only slightly affected by socio-demographic variables, including sex, age, education and income. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that not only may features of ADHD, even below a diagnostic threshold, constitute a risk factor for antisocial behaviour, but also that the self-rated levels of these problems covary. These findings are important for informing the early detection of risk of antisocial behaviour in the general population and its prevention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)172-184
    Number of pages13
    JournalCriminal Behaviour and Mental Health
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023


    • ADHD
    • antisocial behaviour
    • categorical approach
    • delinquency
    • dimensional approach
    • early detection of delinquency

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Psychology (miscellaneous)
    • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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