A new study concluded that children with ADHD can sometimes have more difficulties on math and reading tests compared to their peers.
Researchers used identical and fraternal twins to look at the genetic and environmental influences underlying ADHD behaviors, reading, and math skills in children in an attempt to understand the relationship among them.
Sara Hart, of the Florida State University, said by focusing on twins specifically, psychological scientists were able to tease out the difference between nature and nurture.
To do this, scientists compared identical twins, who have nearly the same DNA, with fraternal twins, who generally only share about half of their DNA.
The researchers found that ADHD behaviors, reading achievement, and math achievement were all influenced by the same genetic influences; this doesn't prove anything about what causes what, but some psychological scientists think that all three might be linked through the working memory system.
Although common genetic influences are a typical result from twin studies, the exciting aspect of this work was that that ADHD behaviors, reading achievement, and math achievement are also associated by common environmental influences.
Although it is not known what the actual environmental influences are, Hart and her colleagues suggest that it could be related to aspects of the classroom and homework environment.
The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.