Mail Online (UK) 8 Nov 2011
Becoming a father really can help men ditch bad habits, a study has found. Men who become dads for the first time tend to steer away tobacco, alcohol even crime, say researchers from Oregon State University. The conclusions were drawn from a 19-year study of more than 200 at-risk boys aged between 12 and 31 looking at how their anti-social behaviour changed over time. While previous studies have shown how marriage can effect a man’s negative behaviour, this is the first to isolate the additional impact of fatherhood. Lead researcher David Kerr, said: ‘This research suggests that fatherhood can be a transformative experience, even for men engaging in high risk behaviour.’
He added that parenthood – in addition to adulthood – could be seen as ‘an independent factor in predicting decreases in crime, alcohol and tobacco use.’ The findings, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family also highlight how men who become fathers in their late 20s and early 30s show a greater willingness to embrace fatherhood and shed negative lifestyle choices compared with men who father children in their teens.