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Fatherhood and Testosterone

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It has been postulated in many circles that intact families are great prophylactics against crime.  A very interesting new study is out about the relationship between testosterone and fatherhood.  In a nutshell, the study examined a large sample of men before and after they had kids and found that fatherhood is associated with a decline in testosterone levels.  Additionally, in those father who regularly undertook 3 hours or more of daily childcare showed even further declines in testosterone.  An interesting note about this study is that it was longitudinal, so it wasn't just that those men with lower testosterone levels were more likely to become fathers or engage in childcare, the subjects in the study actually saw their levels drop.

If I had to hazard a guess the typical media spin will be something along the lines that becoming a father makes you half a man.  But here's another way to look at it: Kids need a father so much that Nature has wired them to stick around and raise them.  That is, the evolutionary benefit would be that fathers participate in raising offspring, rather than running off to produce more offspring.   It also implies strongly that the feminists are wrong - that this sort of evolutionary response to fatherhood really speaks to fathers being a necessary, in fact, essential, component in child rearing.   Essential enough to provide a survival benefit.  Proof that kids need dads - the need is so strong that fathers' physiologic response is built to promote dad's participation.   It also really says something about divorce - that by removing a father from the presence of his kids, he may lose the inclination towards raising them - and naturally move back into "mating mode."    The kids doubly lose out when dad leaves.  He's gone and he's less inclined.

Of course this is just a single study, but it's a powerful one.  

1 Comment

Steve,
I would advise against using macro-evolutionary conjecture, e.g. females hold their knees during scary movies at home because female chimps fear that dangling legs are vulnerable to ground predators whilst dwelling in the canopy (actual university study funded w/AUS tax dough).

Remember evolutionary biologist Dawkins defending Pres. Clinton's adulteries and perjury on the basis of the polygamy of seals? Of course the monogamy of gibbons, wolves, &tc. was inconvenient. Evolutionary utilitarianism/morality is a morass.

Adamakis

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