For years people have asked this question. Many times this is asked as it relates to negative behaviors such as addictions.
Hardly ever does someone ask if a child is a straight “A” student due to nature or nurture, it is just assumed that the child takes after their “good parents” who make sure they do their school work and thus nature and nurture have their assigned roles.
Back in the 1980′s and 1990′s commercials surfaced indicating the same for addiction. A parent waits too long to confront a child who is addicted to drugs and when confronted with the question of where the child learned these behaviors the child tells the parent, rather accusingly that the child learned these habits from watching the parent…leaving the parent to feel badly about his/her poor choices in life.
In February 2012 a new study concluded and the media is just now catching the buzz, with last week being the first time this writer saw coverage. The study notes that the brain changes that were often thought to come from addiction are the cause of the addiction, and even more fascinating that the conclusion that the brain in addicts is hardwired with less impulse control than non-addicts, as well as other subtle differences, is the conclusion that the non-addicted siblings of addicts are also wired this same way.
Studies are now being done to find out why one sibling becomes addicted and the other sibling having the EXACT same brain wiring doesn’t become an addict.
Nature vs. Nurture may end up being a much more blended concept than people originally thought it was and the view of addiction may change forever as a result of this study.
It has only been within recent years that addiction has been defined as a disease within the medical community, but now this and other studies may lead to a resulting change in views of addiction again, and who knows maybe even some gene based therapy.