Does Child Rearing Lead to Lower Testosterone Levels?
We all know the issues involved with absentee fathers; men who are around only for the act that produces a child, then forever gone. All that is left behind from the hope of a lasting relationship is a wisp of emotional smoke, its patterns stirred and stoked for years to come by single mothers and children wondering what might have been if dad had stuck around...
Is there a deeply ingrained, almost instinctive reason for this behavior? Does fathering a child and steering clear of the act of rearing them make men appear more manly? Or is it a deeper, darker biological impetus based on a hidden desire by certain men, to lead a longer life?
Researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois think they have some clues about this. Dr. Christopher Kuzawa and his research team took baseline testosterone readings from single men, then compared the samples, 4.5 years later, with those who had fathered at least one child, and those that had not. What researchers found was that while testosterone levels dropped overall, the levels dropped more than twice as much in those men who had become daddies.
So what happened?
According to researchers, the drop in testosterone levels is not unique to human males, and signals a physiological switch in affected mammals from trying to “make babies” to taking care of them. “Our findings suggest that human males have an evolved neuroendocrine architecture that is responsive to committed parenting, supporting a role of men as direct caregivers during hominin evolution,” said researchers.
If a man sticks around to care for his children, his testosterone level is in turn dampened, lowering a biologically drive to procreate with other women. Nesting makes for nurturing.Continued on the next page