Despite the health risks associated with low testosterone levels in men, a new study from the University of Michigan found that low testosterone levels make men better fathers. Lower testosterone shape the father’s interaction with his baby, making him more empathetic and less aggressive.
As reported by The Conversation, the researchers found that a crying baby lowers a father’s testosterone, which in high levels is associated with aggression. As a result, the father was more sensitive and caring when handling the crying baby, which may lead to irritation and aggravation to many people.
The fathers who are in a loving relationship with his wife were also more likely to be more sensitive and empathetic.
The association between low testosterone and successful parenting has been heard of before. Normally, men with children have lower testosterone levels than those without but no one knew if the same response happens when fathers interact with their own children, until now.
The researchers recruited fathers and their babies in their study. The men and their infants were separated and then reunited for 15 minutes, where the fathers taught the babies with difficult activities.
The fathers’ saliva samples were taken before separation and after interaction with their infants. The way the fathers interacted with their babies when they taught the tasks was also observed.
The researchers found that the fathers’ testosterone levels decreased during separation. When they interacted with their babies, they were more sensitive and less aggressive at teaching the hard tasks.
This also means that when a father perceive a crying baby to be annoying, he is more likely to have higher levels of testosterone. When the father gets frustrated if he cannot comfort the baby, he will get more aggressive and could abuse the baby.
Another study by a University of Michigan psychologist also found that men undergo hormonal changes as they prepare to become fathers. Again, the men with low testosterone levels were less hostile and were more supportive of their wife.
However, the research team admits that more studies are still needed. Still, the study implies that men with low testosterone level may be better at providing care for their babies.