Tired of the age-old nature-versus-nurture debate? So are teachers and researchers of ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It turns out that the academic performance of ADHD students is actually determined by a complex combination of nature and nurture.
A recent study found that for children with ADHD, some skills, such as reading, are largely determined by genetics. But in the case of math skills, a child’s home and school environment tend to play a bigger role.
At this point, the researchers can’t explain why.
Lee Thompson, a professor of Psychological Sciences at Case Western Reserve University led the study. He and his colleagues looked specifically at two symptoms associated with ADHD: inattention and hyperactivity.
270 pairs of 10-year-old twins were assessed. Some had signs of severe ADHD, while others showed few or none of the condition’s typical behaviors.
The researchers evaluated the children’s overall behavior, attention and activity. To measure the relationship between ADHD symptoms and academic abilities, they then looked at similarities between children’s skills and their respective genetic and environmental influences.
This was the first ADHD behavioral study that looked at genetic and environmental factors alike. This means both parents and teachers have their work cut out for them—just equally so.
The study was published this week in Psychological Science.