- New Study: Becoming a Dad Helps Men Kick off Unwanted Habits -

By Fiona Howard republished on September 08, 2017

Being a dad can bring a lot of changes to a man’s life. And fortunately, this includes kicking off the old habits. On a very recent study, it was found that fatherhood helps a man cut smoking, drinking, and all those bad habits – even crime!

The report came from the University of Oregon. It took 20 years for the researchers to come up with these findings. According to Mr. David Kerr, one of the lead researchers and Assistant Professor in the University of Oregon Psychology Department, the study suggests that fatherhood can be a transformative experience for men who have been engaged with bad habits from the past. Though there are many reasons (such as adulthood) why men can do away with smoking, alcohol, and crime, being parents is an independent factor that affects the reduction of these bad habits, said Mr. Kerr. The report has been published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

How did the researchers arrive with the findings?

To come up with the results, a 19-year study was conducted to observe the behaviour of more than 200 boys aged 12 and 31. The researchers studied how their behaviour changed as they mature. They interviewed the participants every year – inquiring on their criminal activities as well as their use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Among the factors that they considered are the family backgrounds of the respondents. For instance, they take into consideration some factors like having parents who have criminal backgrounds or are engaged in the same vices.

How does fatherhood affect men’s behaviour?

They found that when these men became daddies, they tend to do away from the bad habits and they smoke, drink, or involve in crimes less. The study also mentioned that fathers between the age of late 20s and early 30s are eager and well-prepared to embrace fatherhood and much more willing to switch to a better lifestyle. During the research, these men got the most improvements and they have shown greater decline from the unwanted habits they had before they became daddies. While the researchers did not mention why men in later years did not show the same level of improvements as that of the younger fathers, it seems that the willingness of men to accept the responsibilities of being a father is the triggering factor why they gave up the bad habits. In addition, it was found that men are less likely to engage in crimes after having children.

A very similar study that was conducted in the University of Warwick found that the smoking behaviour among men changes as they become fathers of new infants. In the said study, there were 286 smoking fathers. About 20% of the said population tried quitting smoking and 4% of them luckily succeeded. All in all though, 60% stopped smoking at home. It was revealed that even though a lot of men have no intention to give up smoking, they smoke less at home most especially during the first 14 weeks of their new infants.

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