Hands-on fathers experience bonding hormone
February 20, 2017 0 comments
Hands-on fathers who play with their children experience a release of the same bonding hormone as mothers new research reveals.
Oxytocin is produced when new mothers breastfeed and have other close contact with their babies. It encourages empathy and a focus on the child’s needs, providing a sense of reward and bonding.
In a new study, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta found elevated levels of the hormone in new fathers as well.
Study leader James Rilling explained:
“Our findings add to the evidence that fathers, and not just mothers, undergo hormonal changes likely to facilitate increased empathy and motivation to care for their children.”
“I’m interested in understanding why some fathers are more involved in caregiving than others. In order to fully understand variation in caregiving behaviour, we need a clear picture of the neurobiology and neural mechanisms that support the behaviour.”
Rilling and his team suggest a link between a failure to bond with newly born babies and postnatal depression. Oxytocin can be administered artificially as a nasal spray and such treatment could help parents who are struggling they claim.
Thirty fathers featured in the study underwent a brain scan during which they were shown photos of their child, an unknown adult and an unknown child. Those who had received a dose oxytocin spray showed a marked increase in neural activity when shown a photo of their own child, focused on those parts of the brain linked to empathy and a sense of reward.
The study was published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour.
Image by absolut xman
February 20, 2017
Categories: Family Life