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Nature v. Nurture: Is My Executive Dysfunction the Result of ADHD, or Failed Parenting?

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There’s a term in psychology you may have heard of: nature versus nurture. It places our genetic inheritance and biological factors — our nature — against our learned responses due to our experiences in life — our nurture — and asks where our behaviors come from.

I’m fascinated by the idea, particularly with regard to my own experiences. For example, we can probably say that my depression carries an aspect of both — there may be an aspect of genetics to my depression, given my parents both experienced it, along with being exacerbated by my experiences with bullying and trauma.

One aspect that keeps coming up, though, is my experience with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies have shown that there may be a genetic aspect to the risk of developing ADHD, but that despite this strong link, ADHD “is also influenced by non-inherited factors.” I’m unsure of any evidence that my parents have or had ADHD, and while it seems nature and nurture may simultaneously play a role in our behaviors, there’s a particular aspect of ADHD that has me questioning which was the chicken and which was the egg.

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