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March

Relationship between compliance, false suggestion and ADHD amongst prisoners

MARCH 28, 2008

Professor Gisli Gudjonsson in the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry at King’s, is the lead author of a new paper looking at the suggestibility, compliance and false confessions of prisoners and their relationship with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. The paper co-authored with academics from Iceland and Denmark has been published on line by the journal Psychological Medicine.

Interrogative suggestibility and compliance are important psychological vulnerabilities during interrogation and the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of suggestibility and compliance with childhood and current symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). No research has been conducted yet into compliance in relation to ADHD. A further aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between ADHD and the reporting of having made a false confession to the police.The study involving 90 male prisoners raises important questions about the potential vulnerability of adults with ADHD symptoms in terms of their ability to cope with interrogation.

ADHD symptoms were not found to be significantly associated with suggestibility, whereas they were with compliance. The ADHD symptomatic groups were significantly more likely to report having made a false confession to the police. The findings raise important questions about the potential vulnerability of adults with ADHD symptoms in terms of their ability to cope with interrogation and resist pressure from peers.

For a full copy of the paper entitled ‘Interrogative suggestibility, compliance and false confessions among prisoners and their relationship with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms’ is published on line by the journal of Psychological Medicine. The authors were: G.H. Gudjonsson, Institute of Psychiatry, J.F. Sigurdsson, University of Iceland, O.O. Bragason, the Office of National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, A.K, Newton, the Prison and Probation Administration, Iceland and E.Einarsson. University of Aarhus, Denmark.
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