The purpose of this study was to determine whether an association exists between neuropsychological deficits and conduct disorder (CD) with and without concurrent attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, we explored the differential neuropsychological performance of aggressive and nonaggressive CD adolescents and the combined effect of this behavioral status and ADHD on performance. Fifty-nine adolescents (mean age of 15.4 years) who met the criteria for CD were compared with 29 controls comparable in age, gender, and socioeconomic status. A neuropsychological battery of current tests measuring executive functions and a battery of language tests were used in the study. Multivariate analyses showed that, compared with controls, CD adolescents had significantly lower verbal skills but did not differ on executive function measures. However, the lower verbal performance of CD adolescents is not explained by the existence of a CD subgroup with concomitant ADHD or aggressiveness. The study confirms with a sample of CD adolescents the association between verbal deficits and antisocial behavior when socioeconomic status is controlled. Our results also demonstrate that CD per se can be a sufficient condition for such deficits.
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