Duggar Family Member, Deanna Duggar, Suggests Josh Duggar’s Issues Could Be Inherited

For more than a decade, the Duggar family appeared on TLC. Their rise to fame was without incident until 2015. In 2015 reports surfaced that Josh Duggar, the family’s eldest son, had sexually abused some of his siblings. Once the dust settled, the family carried on in the public eye relatively unscathed. Now that Josh has been convicted of possessing and receiving child pornography, everything has changed. Family friends and even Duggar family members are coming forward to shed light on the family’s dark secrets. Deanna Duggar, Jim Bob Duggar’s sister, is the most recent family member to step forward. In a recent interview, Deanna suggested that Josh’s issues could have been passed down from her father.

Deanna Duggar said her father had ‘severe’ mental health issues

Jim Bob Duggar has discussed his childhood openly several times over the years. The Duggar daughters have talked about their grandfather, as well. Now, Deanna Duggar is trying to shed further light on what happened before the Duggar family became famous. In an interview with The U.S. Sun, Deanna said she had spent a lot of time trying to figure out what happened and make sense of what her nephew had done.

Deanna wondered aloud whether her father somehow passed down his issues to Josh Duggar. She told the publication, “My father had serious mental issues. It could’ve been passed down to Josh. I do not know.” Deanna did not go into detail about Jimmy Lee Duggar. She did not mention if he had any history of sexual abuse or if he was formally diagnosed with a mental health condition.

Several Duggar grandchildren have talked about Jimmy Lee Duggar

Jimmy Lee Duggar’s actual mental health concerns remain a mystery. Jimmy Lee died in 2009 from cancer. Since his passing several Duggar grandchildren have made passing remarks about their grandfather, indicating something might have been going on behind the scenes. Amy Duggar King, the daughter of Deanna Duggar, once suggested her grandfather was not a “safe” person. She did not elaborate on why that was.

Jessa Duggar, Jinger Duggar, Jill Duggar, and Jana Duggar of the Duggar family standing together and smiling with their book
Jessa Duggar, Jinger Duggar, Jill Duggar, and Jana Duggar | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

In their book, Growing Up Duggar, Jessa Seewald, Jill Dillard, Jana Duggar, and Jinger Vuolo wrote about their grandfather, too. In a roundabout way, the memoir suggested that Jimmy Lee Duggar may have dealt with alcoholism during his adult years. They also alluded to a potentially abusive nature. In his final years, Jimmy Lee and his wife, Mary Duggar, lived with Jim Bob, Michelle, and their children.

Does Deanna’s theory about Josh Duggar hold water?

Deanna was thinking out loud while talking to the U.S. Sun. Like her daughter and several of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s children, she was largely kept in the dark about Josh Duggar’s criminal behavior, both as a teenager and as an adult. Still, one has to wonder if her theory holds any water.

While ongoing research looks into pedophilia and sexual abuse inside families, there is not yet a definitive answer about what causes it. According to Psychology Today, some evidence suggests pedophilia may run in families. Still, it’s difficult to ascertain if that is due to a genetic component or if learned behavior is largely at play. According to the same publication, a study suggests that a genetic component, if it exists, is likely insignificant. Researchers are also studying neurological components.

Josh Duggar's booking photo following his arrest on child pornography charges. Josh Duggar's trial took place in December 2021. He was found guilty
Josh Duggar booking photo | Washington County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

Once transferred to federal prison, Josh Duggar will enroll in a program designed for sex offenders. Josh Duggar will also need to adhere to a lengthy list of conditions or risk returning to prison upon his release. After his release, he will not be allowed unsupervised access to any children, including his own. He will not have access to the internet unless approved by a probation officer and will be strictly prohibited from looking at pornography.

How to get help: If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free and confidential support.

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