Findings indicate men’s testosterone levels lower after becoming fathers in order to serve as better caregivers.
A recent study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the level of testosterone in men actually decreases after being in a stable relationship and becoming fathers. Thus, men, like women are “wired” to shift their priorities and focus on caregiving.
Christopher Kuzawa, associate professor of biological anthropology at Northwestern and co-author of the study said, “It has been known for some time that fathers in many cultures have lower testosterone levels than non-fathers. However, because past studies investigated these relationships as a single snapshot, they were not able to establish whether fatherhood lowers testosterone, or whether men who had lower testosterone to begin with were more likely to become fathers.”
The researcher also suggests that it is possible that men with a higher amount of testosterone are more self-confident or competitive, making them more attractive to potential partners. However, once a partner is attained, testosterone declines because behaviors that relate to high testosterone may conflict with effective care giving.
While fathers had lower testosterone than non-fathers, fathers of newborns had the lowest amount, suggesting that there is a large, but temporary, decline after the birth of their child. For centuries, men have been portrayed as the hunters and providers, while mothers were responsible for childcare, but this study proves that fathers are also made to adjust for childcare.
While the study did not focus on specific effects on behavior, I’m wondering if anyone can speak to how they, or their significant other, changed after becoming a father. Share your story by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.