In a recent study conducted at Oregon State University, researchers found that men who were fathers in their early 20s and 30s were less likely to engage in criminal behavior, alcohol or tobacco use. Surveying 200 at-risk males aged 12 through 31, researchers measured the alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use as well as criminal behavior of these men; after reviewing their data, they concluded that fatherhood was an independent factor in a decrease of high-risk behaviors. In fact, David Kerr, an assistant professor of psychology and the lead author of the study, noted that “having children at a more developmentally-expected time” can help men to avoid “negative lifestyle choices.”
In another study conducted at Northwestern University, researchers found that men who were fathers showed lower testosterone levels following the birth of their children. According to the study’s author Lee Getter, after the birth of children, men undergo drastic emotional, psychological and physical changes. Chief among these changes is a decrease in the production of testosterone, which ultimately helps to protect men from diseases linked to high testosterone levels.
A study published in the journal Biology Letter and later shared by Slate online, also showed that men have an enhanced connectivity in the prefrontal cortex following childbirth. As a result of this higher connectivity between neurons in the prefrontal cortex, men are more prepared for the increased responsibilities that correlate with raising children, such as the skills associated with planning and memory. In addition, men who are fathers have higher levels of oxytocin, which is the hormone associated with love.
Finally, James Swain, a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan, concluded that after 4 months (or less for stay-at-home-Dads), fathers develop a much stronger father-baby bond which allows them to wake up at the sound of a baby crying as quickly as their mothers. However, his most significant conclusion is that the importance of fatherhood is the greatest in Western nations, where nuclear families persist. Because nuclear families are smaller and separated from their extended families, fathers are needed in the role as helpers. Thus, fatherhood has many positive benefits not just for children and for families, but also for fathers themselves.
This post is summarized by Caity Pinkard for COIPI from: “How Fatherhood Changes A Man, According To Science.” Weblog post.MSN, Health and Fitness. MSN, 19 June 2015. Web. 6 July 2015. <http://www.msn.com/en-us/
health/wellness/how- fatherhood-changes-a-man- according-to-science/ar- AAbQQ0I#page=5>.)
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