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Do People With ADHD Cheat More?

Could a gene variation influence infidelity?

Since ADHD is a disorder of impulsivity, and one of the symptoms of ADHD is being easily bored, wouldn't it make logical sense that people with ADHD are more likely to be unfaithful? And what role does genetics have in a possible predisposition towards cheating?

We do know that people with ADHD have a higher rate of divorce (and remarriage), and they report more problems in their marriages than people without ADHD (Barkley, et al. 2008; Eakin et al. 2004).

According to a study by Garcia, et al. (2010), "Associations between Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene Variation with Both Infidelity and Sexual Promiscuity":

Individuals with at least one 7-repeat allele (7R+) report a greater categorical rate of promiscuous sexual behavior (i.e., having ever had a "one-night stand") and report a more than 50% increase in instances of sexual infidelity.

So who has this seven-repeat allele?

Humans that possess at least one allele seven-repeats or longer (7R+) display behavioral phenotypes associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcoholism, financial risk-taking, disinhibition and impulsivity, and sexual behavior.

The authors conclude:

....genetic variation in the brain′s dopaminergic reward pathway appears to be an influential factor in individual differences in motivation to engage in sexual behavior of a risky and uncommitted nature.

So while it appears that those with ADHD may possibly have a stronger inclination to cheat, it doesn't necessarily make it so. That's one thing that separates us out from other animals ... we have the will to choose whether or not to engage in behaviors. It may just be a little more of a challenge for people with ADHD to make that decision wisely.

Copyright 2011 Sarkis Media LLC.

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