Fatherhood, Not Testosterone, Makes The Man

Me and my girls in Rhode Island

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that when men become fathers, their testosterone levels drop significantly. Not shocking news, if you are already a dad, right?

The study, led by Dr. Lee Gettler of Northwestern University, followed the testosterone levels of 600+ Filipino men from when they were 21 until five years after becoming fathers. The results showed that the testosterone level dipped as much as 34 percent in the men who became fathers, with the biggest change occurring in men who spent a lot of time caring for their children.

A few quotes from the NPR article:

“There’s something about being an active father that’s contributing to these dramatic declines,” said Dr. Gettler, who headed the study.

Anthropologist Peter Gray at the University of Nevada told The New York Times, “A dad with lower testosterone is maybe a little more sensitive to cues from his child, and maybe he’s a little less sensitive to cues from a woman he meets at a bar.”

As a very involved father of three toddle girls, I can’t say I am surprised, but it does explain a lot of things. At least I now have an excuse the next time a non-father buddy catches me playing dress-up with the girls.

(Source: Fatherhood, Not Testosterone, Makes The Man : NPR.)