We have known for a long time that a female’s body is hard wired to take care of a baby, and now a new study has revealed that fathers, especially those who are “hands-on,” also have certain chemical changes that make them better parents.
The study found that men who spend a significant amount of time with their children and those who play the role of “stay-at-home-dad” see a significant dip in their testosterone levels.
The study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that the change in testosterone shows a direct link that men are hormonally wired to take part in their children’s lives.
To complete their research, scientists measured testosterone levels for a group of 21-year-old men in the Philippines when they were both single and without children; the scientists then measured the testosterone levels in that same group five years later. The study showed that, while all older men witnessed drops in their testosterone levels, men with children saw a drop of nearly two times compared to the childless control group.
The study also revealed that father’s experienced a “significant decrease” in the first month of their baby’s life while dads who did more of the feeding, changing, and other daily activities for their children saw an even steeper drop in testosterone levels.
For guys who may tease their buddies about this fact, the study notes that lowered testosterone levels also greatly reduces the risk of contracting prostate cancer.
Gettler, Lee T., Thomas McDade W., Alan B. Feranil, & Christopher W. Kuzawa. 2011. Longitudinal evidence that fatherhood decreases testosterone in human males. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 108(37).
ASL I Love You © 2012 Heather Johnson