Research investigates ADHD, delinquency

Self-control and parental involvement can help prevent the occurrence of delinquency among young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to recent WSU studies.

Research conducted by Washington State University criminal justice Assistant Professor Travis C. Pratt on ADHD confirms previous studies showing a link between the disorder and the potential for delinquent behavior.

However, recently published reports from additional studies show there are key factors that can prevent delinquency among young people with ADHD.

In the first study, Pratt and his fellow researchers discovered ADHD can be an important contributing factor to delinquency and that it tends to have continuing effects over time.

“Given that ADHD is now viewed as the most common neurobehavioral disorder occurring in childhood, and that it is among the most prevalent chronic health conditions affecting school-aged children, the public policy implications associated with the condition take on added importance,” Pratt said.

The second wave of research investigated whether the disorder consigns youths to delinquent behavior. These findings hold promise for anyone who suffers from ADHD or has a family member who does.

Pratt’s groundbreaking research indicates that both self-control on the part of the ADHD patient and involvement and intervention by the youth’s parents can be strong deterrents. Most important, researchers found ADHD is amenable to treatment and especially responsive when intervention happens early.

Pratt was the lead researcher of a report released in the “International Journal of Police Science and Management” (Vol. 4, No. 4, 2002) and part of a team of researchers whose findings were recently published in “Justice Quarterly” (Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2003).

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