Does Cosleeping Contribute to Lower Testosterone Levels in Fathers? Evidence from the Philippines

Lee T. Gettler, James J. McKenna, Thomas W. McDade, Sonny S. Agustin, Christopher W. Kuzawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because cross-species evidence suggests that high testosterone (T) may interfere with paternal investment, the relationships between men's transition to parenting and changes in their T are of growing interest. Studies of human males suggest that fathers who provide childcare often have lower T than uninvolved fathers, but no studies to date have evaluated how nighttime sleep proximity between fathers and their offspring may affect T. Using data collected in 2005 and 2009 from a sample of men (n = 362; age 26.0 ± 0.3 years in 2009) residing in metropolitan Cebu, Philippines, we evaluated fathers' T based on whether they slept on the same surface as their children (same surface cosleepers), slept on a different surface but in the same room (roomsharers), or slept separately from their children (solitary sleepers). A large majority (92%) of fathers in this sample reported practicing same surface cosleeping. Compared to fathers who slept solitarily, same surface cosleeping fathers had significantly lower evening (PM) T and also showed a greater diurnal decline in T from waking to evening (both p<0.05). Among men who were not fathers at baseline (2005), fathers who were cosleepers at follow-up (2009) experienced a significantly greater longitudinal decline in PM T over the 4.5-year study period (p<0.01) compared to solitary sleeping fathers. Among these same men, baseline T did not predict fathers' sleeping arrangements at follow-up (p>0.2). These results are consistent with previous findings indicating that daytime father-child interaction contributes to lower T among fathers. Our findings specifically suggest that close sleep proximity between fathers and their offspring results in greater longitudinal decreases in T as men transition to fatherhood and lower PM T overall compared to solitary sleeping fathers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere41559
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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