The Science of Fatherhood: Why Dads Matter

The Science of Fatherhood: Why Dads Matter

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For decades, psychologists and other researchers assumed that the mother-child bond was the most important one in a kid’s life. They focused on studying those relationships, and however a child turned out, mom often got the credit — or blame. Within the last several decades, though, scientists are increasingly realizing just how much dads matter. Just like women, fathers’ bodies respond to parenthood, and their parenting style affects their kids just as much, and sometimes more, than mom’s.

“Knowing that kids feel loved by their father is a better predictor of young adults’ sense of well-being, of happiness, of life satisfaction than knowing about the extent to which they feel loved by their mothers,” said Ronald Rohner, the director of the Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut. He and his colleagues detailed their findings in May in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.

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