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Fatherhood Improves Behavior, Diminishes Men's Smoking And Drinking, Says Study

Fatherhood Improves Behavior

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/11/11 12:40 PM ET Updated: 11/11/11 01:03 PM ET

Countless studies show how motherhood changes the body and mind of women. But now new research examines how fatherhood propels men to clean up their act -- and drop bad habits.

The recent study out of Oregon State University found that men cut back on drinking, tobacco and marijuana and also commit less crime after becoming dads, reports TIME.

Over 19 years researchers tracked the behavior of males from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 12 to 31, notes emaxhealth.com.

"This research suggests that fatherhood can be a transformative experience, even for men engaging in high risk behavior," said David Kerr, assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University in a press statement.

"[It] presents a unique window of opportunity for intervention, because new fathers might be especially willing and ready to hear a more positive message and make behavioral changes," he said.

Researchers say those who became fathers in their late 20s and early 30s were more likely to drop bad habits than those who had kids in their teens or early 20s.

But perhaps men ditching risky behavior might be attributed to hormones. In September the New York Times reported on a study published by Northwestern University that showed testosterone dropped after fatherhood. Another behavior changer could simply be from a man being in a relationship. A Harvard study as far back as 2003 found that the more time men spend in relationships, particularly marriage, they are more likely to have lower testosterone.

Of course, fatherhood isn't the same for all men. An in-depth and entertaining look at punk rockers who have children in The Other F-Word is a perfect example of this. In the trailer below you'll get a glimpse of how tattooed rockstars grapple with the polarized worlds of punk and fatherhood -- and how being a part of both has changed them.

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