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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Biological Factors

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a prevalent and impairing condition located in the category of Neurodevelopmental Disorders in the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), is defined by developmentally extreme and significantly impairing levels of inattentive behavior and/or hyperactive-impulsive behavior patterns. These behavioral dimensions exhibit substantial genetic liability; additional roots include early-appearing biological risk factors (e.g., low birth weight, maternal substance use during pregnancy, exposure to environmental toxins, temperamental tendencies). Yet the course of ADHD is shaped by contextual influences such as parenting practices and schooling; the interplay between underlying biological vulnerability and environmental processes is highly predictive of outcome. This entry provides a summary of genetic liability, neurobiological risk factors, neural underpinnings, and the interplay between such ...

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