Fatherhood makes men emotional
Men who have just become a father have a significantly lower testosterone level than they did before fatherhood. This was determined by a study by the Northwestern University in Evanston. The researchers examined the levels of hormones in 600 Filipino subjects before and after the birth of the child.
Paternity makes men more emotional, loving, and more understanding of their environment. This conclusion could be reached based on the new study results from US researchers. Entering paternity may well be responsible for a drop in the male sex hormone testosterone. In any case, the researchers suspect a direct connection and reported the results of a long-term study of around 600 men in Philippines in the journal "Proceedings" of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Long-term study with over 600 men
During the coursework, the male study participants were examined once in 2005 and then again in 2009. For this purpose, the scientific team took a saliva sample from the test subjects in order to analyze the hormone content. At the beginning of the study, all participants were on average 21.5 years old. The hormonal values were measured once in the morning and again in the evening. During their studies, a third of the men married or entered into a partnership and became fathers. As soon as a child was born, almost all men showed significant changes in hormone levels. The more the man looked after his offspring, the more the testosterone dropped. If the child had just been born, the hormone decreased more than that of those whose child was over a month old. The remaining childless men who remained single served as a comparison group. The research team also found an interesting context: the more fathers looked after their children, the lower the level of testosterone detection, as the researcher around Christopher Kuzawa explained.
Low testosterone levels during paternity
Previous studies have shown that fathers had lower male hormone levels than men who were still childless. According to the consortium of researchers, however, it was never clear why this is so. Two theories faced each other. One said that men with lower testosterone levels are more likely to have children than men with high testosterone levels. The second thesis indicated that paternity suppresses male hormones.
The study disproved the former presumption. Because the higher the hormone level for the sex hormone, the higher the likelihood that the study participant would become a father in the course of his life. This result in turn suggests that high testosterone levels play an important role in partner search. More androgens apparently make it easier to find a partner and has an attractive effect on women. The family had always played an important role in the Philippines. As a result of social change, the family picture has also changed here, as Kuzawa explained.
Similar hormonal effects in animals
The study work coincides with scientific observations in the animal world. Scientists have already shown that the hormonal system in mammals and birds reacts similarly when offspring are born. Animals with a high testosterone value invested significantly more energy in the partner search. When the offspring were born again, the hormone level dropped again. Nature therefore has a hormonal effect on the fathers of the family. Because an increased testosterone level in men promotes dominant and aggressive behavior. Two “typically male” traits that appear to be out of place after the birth of a child. (sb)
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