Given the high risk for delinquency of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), their display of covert or clandestine antisocial behavior is important developmentally and theoretically. In a laboratory probe of the temptation to (a) steal small amounts of money and desired objects, (b) destroy property, and (c) use an answer key to cheat on a worksheet, counts of these covert behaviors were reliably made. Laboratory property destruction was highly correlated with parallel naturalistic behaviors. Stealing and property destruction (but not cheating) formed a factor that was distinct from overt physical and verbal aggression. These covert indexes clearly distinguished ADHD from comparison samples as well as high- from low-aggressive ADHD subgroups; they showed external validity with maternal reports, global staff ratings, and child self-reports of similar constructs. The authors discuss psychometric and ethical issues in the assessment of covert antisocial behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health