What’s the proof for ADHD as a danger issue for IPV and sexual violence?


Intimate Companion Violence (IPV) encompasses numerous types of abuse, together with bodily, sexual, and psychological abuse, occurring inside romantic relationships (WHO, 2021). Sexual violence (SV) refers to coercive or non-consensual sexual acts carried out in opposition to people who don’t present, or are unable to supply, consent. Violence, together with SV, can occur each inside and outdoors the context of intimate relationships and might affect people of all genders, although the implications are sometimes extra extreme and enduring for girls than for males (Martinez et al., 2022). Within the UK, the lifetime prevalence of IPV and SV amongst girls is as excessive as 24% (WHO, 2021). IPV results in emotional misery, elevated suicidal ideas, and suicide makes an attempt amongst victims (Ellsberg et al., 2008).

One of many authors of this weblog, Janhvi, just lately skilled in counselling, and labored with shoppers aged 16–25 years previous. Shoppers introduced with a variety of challenges, together with IPV. Throughout this coaching, there have been challenges in genuinely empathising with perpetrators of violence: why would any person damage somebody they love? Each relationship goes by tough occasions, the place each companions expertise, and unintentionally trigger, emotional ache. Whereas not all these conditions could also be thought-about violent, it’s essential to recognise when behaviours are abusive, and to grasp the components which enhance the danger of such behaviour being perpetrated in relationships. Violence has extreme penalties for sufferer/survivors, and might have a lifetime affect on wellbeing (Buitelaar et al., 2014). Thus, understanding the causes and affect of violence on each perpetrators and victims is crucial.

Earlier analysis has demonstrated a correlation between IPV and hostile psychological well being issues like melancholy and anxiousness signs, in addition to hostile well being behaviours, resembling elevated substance use (Scoglio and Zhu., 2023). Nevertheless, not like psychological well being circumstances resembling melancholy and anxiousness, research inspecting the potential relationship between ADHD and IPV are minimal. Research resembling that by Arrondo et al (2023), which is the main focus of this weblog, can assist develop our understanding of danger components for violent behaviour, and the behavioural variations that will underly it.

Arrondo et al (2023) systematically reviewed 14 analysis papers to take a look at the affiliation between ADHD and perpetration or victimisation of IPV and SV. The analysis outlined IPV as comprising numerous types of hurt occurring inside romantic relationships, resembling bodily, sexual, or psychological abuse. Sexual violence was outlined as non-consensual sexual acts, whether or not inside or exterior intimate relationships. Whereas these definitions present a framework for understanding these advanced types of hurt, it’s essential to recognise that these definitions might not absolutely replicate the multifaceted nature of hurt and abuse occurring inside intimate relationships, underscoring the necessity for a complete and inclusive method to addressing these points.

Studies examining the possible relationship between ADHD and intimate partner violence (IPV) are few and far between. Arrondo et al's (2023) review and meta-analysis aims to consolidate our understanding of risk factors for violent behaviour, including IPV and sexual violence.

Research inspecting the potential relationship between ADHD and intimate companion violence (IPV) are few and much between. Arrondo et al’s (2023) evaluate and meta-analysis goals to consolidate our understanding of danger components for violent behaviour, together with IPV and sexual violence.


Arrondo et al (2023) carried out a scientific evaluate and meta-analysis to research the connection between ADHD and publicity to, and perpetration of, IPV and SV, and reported their research in accordance with 2020 PRISMA tips.

Amongst 8,904 research that met their search standards, they included and analysed 14 research which offered information on the research query, in an effort to estimate pooled IPV and SV prevalence ratios in ADHD utilizing random-effects fashions. The ultimate analyses included seven research on SV, 5 research on IPV and two research on IPV which reported SV as an consequence. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale was used to evaluate the danger of bias in every included research (Wells et al., 2000).


Included research typically reported that violence was typically bidirectional, that’s, IPV is perpetrated and skilled by each the companions in direction of one another. Moreover, people with ADHD skilled extra IPV and SV, and had been extra generally perpetrators of IPV and SV, than the overall inhabitants.

The 14 research included cross sectional (n=9), cohort (n=2) and case-control research (n=1). After the outcomes had been examined, all analyses aside from SV discovered excessive ranges of heterogeneity between the research. Because of this though there was proof for relationships of IPV and SV with ADHD, the research had been usually all very completely different from each other.

The next are the outcomes discovered after evaluating perpetration and victimisation experiences in IPV and SV on folks identified with ADHD:

ADHD in intimate companion violence (IPV) perpetration

  • Outcomes of 1,049,598 people in six research indicated that folks identified with ADHD perpetrated IPV extra generally than people with out an ADHD analysis (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.51 to 4.15).

ADHD in intimate companion violence (IPV) victimisation

  • Outcomes of 48,619 people in 4 research advised that people with ADHD had a larger danger of IPV victimisation in comparison with these with out ADHD (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.06 to three.0).

ADHD in sexual violence (SV) perpetration

  • Outcomes of three research with a pattern of 28 785 folks discovered that people with an ADHD analysis had been extra more likely to perpetrate SV than people with out ADHD (OR 2.73, 95% CI 1.35 to five.51).

ADHD in sexual violence (SV) victimisation

  • Meta-analysis of 6 research with a pooled pattern of 62 871 folks discovered larger danger of SV victimisation in people with ADHD (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.51 to 2.24) in comparison with these with out an ADHD analysis.
People with ADHD reported higher odds of both perpetrating (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.51–4.15) and experiencing (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.06–3.0) IPV. Bidirectional IPV was common among this population. A similar pattern was observed for sexual violence, highlighting a complex risk profile.

Folks with ADHD reported larger odds of each perpetrating and experiencing intimate companion violence (IPV). Bidirectional IPV was frequent amongst this inhabitants. An analogous sample was noticed for sexual violence, highlighting a fancy danger profile.


This was a complete systematic evaluate and meta-analysis which was reported in line with PRISMA tips, and there have been enough research to estimate meta-analytic pooled impact estimates for the primary questions. Moreover, the research used the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale (NOS) to evaluate the standard of the research, independently assessed by the authors of the first analysis. This scale assigns a most rating of 9 stars, with any research scoring six or much less being categorised as having a excessive danger of bias. Not solely did the research reveal disparities within the prevalence of ADHD inside the inhabitants, however it additionally held substantial implications for addressing future instances of IPV and SV. The research underscored the importance of psychoeducation as a possible danger administration technique.


The authors discovered excessive ranges of heterogeneity for numerous their comparisons, suggesting that the true associations particularly populations could be fairly completely different from the estimates reported on this research. Heterogeneity sources may embrace completely different populations, research designs, or measurement of exposures and outcomes (e.g., self-report versus clinician reported ADHD), amongst others. Observational epidemiological research are often unable to take account of adjusting historic contexts. As an example, it was not potential on this evaluate to take account of the affect of the Covid-19 pandemic on IPV and SV, or modifications in ADHD diagnostic follow over time.

Furthermore, there may be proof that ADHD therapy can scale back ADHD signs, however this was not assessed on this systematic evaluate. The authors had been not in a position to take account of confounders inside every included research, e.g., by a meta-regression method. Moreover, most included research had been written in English and had been based mostly on information collected on Western populations. This demographic focus might affect the generalisability of the findings to different linguistic or cultural contexts, highlighting the need for analysis in various settings which might enrich our understanding of IPV and SV in ADHD.

black and white photo of a man with dark hair and glasses putting on a surgical mask

It was not potential on this evaluate to take account of the affect of the Covid-19 pandemic on IPV and SV patterns amongst this inhabitants.


Based mostly on the outcomes of their meta-analysis, the authors recommend that core signs of ADHD, resembling issue in emotional and behavioural management, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, may signify causal components that result in elevated prevalence of IPV and SV publicity and perpetration in people with ADHD.

However ought to the proof offered by this paper, the message that ADHD could also be a danger issue for perpetration of IPV, change our outlook in direction of those that perpetrate IPV? When addressing this query, it is very important perceive danger components and hostile outcomes in ADHD, while taking care to not add to the stigma which surrounds ADHD. Mechanisms linking signs of ADHD to IPV perpetration would possibly present intervention alternatives, which may enhance the protection of victims. For instance, presently there may be restricted proof on whether or not ADHD administration would possibly scale back IPV dangers.

Though alcohol use was not meta-analysed as an consequence, the authors highlighted alcohol use as a possible moderating consider IPV perpetration and victimisation. Based mostly on these findings, Arrondo et al. suggest that psychoeducation in ADHD about alcohol ought to be thought-about as an intervention for people with ADHD and their households.

The proof gathered and summarised by Arrondo and colleagues means that psychological well being professionals, and different well being professionals coming into contact with folks identified with ADHD, ought to take into account enquiring about publicity to and perpetration of IPV and SV. Folks identified with ADHD and their households would possibly profit from conversations with well being professionals about dangers, particularly the place IPV has already been recognized. IPV victimisation and perpetration is usually skilled by each companions, and it’s essential to bear this in thoughts as professionals method {couples} and households, particularly aiming to keep away from vilifying neurodiverse folks, or folks with psychological well being circumstances. In contemplating this, the medical aim could be to comprehend and present empathy with out contributing to stigmatisation. Extra analysis on the function of alcohol in influencing the connection between ADHD and IPV would possibly recommend focused intervention methods. The evaluate discovered that almost all research on perpetrators of IPV had been centered on males, and most research of victims had been centered on girls. Subsequently, there may be extra to be learnt concerning the prevalence and affect of IPV perpetration in girls with ADHD, for instance.

In conclusion, this research exhibits that people with ADHD usually tend to expertise IPV and SV, each as victims and perpetrators. We’d like higher understanding of the underlying causes and efficient remedies for people with ADHD to scale back their publicity to, and perpetration of, IPV and SV.

graffiti in black paint reads 'what now' in capitals next to a cartoon face

Mechanisms linking signs of ADHD to IPV perpetration would possibly present intervention alternatives, however presently there may be restricted proof on whether or not ADHD administration would possibly scale back IPV dangers.


Main paper

Arrondo, G., Osorio, A., Magallón, S., Lopez-del Burgo, C., & Cortese, S. (2023). Consideration-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction as a danger issue for being concerned in intimate companion violence and sexual violence: a scientific evaluate and meta-analysis. Psychological Drugs, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291723001976

Different references

Scoglio, A. A. J., & Zhu, M. et al. (2023). [Intimate Partner Violence, Mental Health Symptoms, and Modifiable Health Factors in Women During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US], 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.2977

Buitelaar, N.J., Posthumus, J.A., Scholing, A. et al. Influence of therapy of ADHD on intimate companion violence (ITAP), a research protocol. BMC Psychiatry 14, 336 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-014-0336-2

Ellsberg M, Jansen HA, Heise L, Watts CH, Garcia-Moreno C: Intimate companion violence and girls’s bodily and psychological well being within the WHO multi-country research on girls’s well being and home violence: an observational research. Lancet. 2008, 371 (9619): 1165-1172.

Romero-Martínez, Á., Lila, M., Sarrate-Costa, C., Comes-Fayos, J., and Moya-Albiol, L. (2023). The Interplay between Consideration Deficit Hyperactivity Dysfunction and Neuropsychological Deficits for Explaining Dropout and Recidivism of Intimate Companion Violence Perpetrators. The European Journal of Psychology Utilized to Authorized Context, 15(1), 33 – 42. https://doi.org/10.5093/ejpalc2023a4

World Well being Group. (2021). Sexual and Reproductive Well being and Analysis Truth Sheet. WHO REFERENCE NUMBER: WHO/SRH/21.9. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications/i/merchandise/WHO-SRH-21.9

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