John Paul Leibold



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Previous research has suggested that Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a highly heritable disorder, however, recent evidence suggests that there may be complex gene and environment (GxE) interactions contributing to the onset of ADHD. A large number of studies have found that various social-environmental factors may influence the onset of ADHD. Specifically, parental factors such as parental harshness, parental responsiveness, and parental learning stimulation have been implicated in previous ADHD research. The analytical models of previous studies on parents’ and children’s behavior have been unable to control for genetic factors, leading to an inability to infer causal links between variables. Thus any previous evidence suggesting a link between parenting factors and child outcomes may be due to underlying genetic variables or co-occurring environmental risk factors. This study used a sibling comparison model to control for gene and environment confounds while looking at the relationship between parenting behaviors and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Problems (ADHP). The project investigated various parenting factors and children’s behaviors using a sample from The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 (NLSY79). Parenting behaviors from the NLSY79 were evaluated through a short form HOME Inventory, while child behavior was evaluated through Behavior Problems Index (BPI) filled out by the mother. An association between learning stimulation and ADHP was found even after controlling for measured and unmeasured family background characteristics and previous ADHP. These results make it harder to rule out a causal link between parental learning stimulation and ADHP. Results from this study suggest future research on parenting and ADHD could help create a better understanding of how parenting affects children’s behavior.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Jackson A. Goodnight

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

A Sibling Comparison Study of the Effects of Parenting Behaviors on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Problems