New Study: Dads Biologically Programmed for Parenting

So much for the idea that only women are programmed for parenting! A new study has found that men are biologically wired to care for their children.

Northwestern University researchers followed a large group of men in their 20s and discovered that their testosterone levels fell after they found partners and became fathers. The men studied were 22 when the study began, 26 when it was completed. While testosterone declined in all the men studied — normal, with aging — the largest declines were in married or partnered men with children, compared to men who remained single.

Among men who became fathers during the study, the drop in testosterone levels was about twice as much as among men who remained single. Men with newborns had even lower testosterone levels than those who had slightly older children. And fathers who reported caring for their children 3 or more hours a day had lower testosterone levels than fathers who were not involved in child care.

The conclusion? “It really suggests men are hard-wired to be directly caring for their kids,” said Christopher Kuzawa, study co-author. Lower testosterone levels could help dads better manage the demands of parenting and enable them to become more nurturing.