(CIT): NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Seminar Series Effects of Children on Fathers Peter Gray (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) Ron Mincy (Columbia University), Sari van Anders (University of Michigan) Moderators: Elizabeth Peters (Urban Institute) Pamela Smock (University of Michigan) Traditional approaches in the attachment and development literature tend to treat the parent as an "exogenous" factor on the child/children. The purpose of this panel lecture is to address new research directions when the question is reversed; specifically, what role, if any, do children have on fathers? Three invited speakers will present their research: Dr. Peter Gray on the effects of fatherhood from an evolutionary perspective; Dr. Sari van Anders on the biological effects of fatherhood on males; and Dr. Ron Mincy on the new challenges facing fathers under healthcare reform. Drs. Elizabeth Peters and Pamela Smock will moderate this informative discussion and move the conversation toward emerging research opportunities in this area of study. PRESENTER 1: Peter B. Gray, PhD Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Title: Father Darwin: Effects of Children on Men, Viewed from an Evolutionary Perspective Abstract: While Charles Darwin was a towering figure in evolutionary biology, he also was quite literally a devoted father, attentive to his children and employing them as scientific subjects. The connections between evolution and fatherhood run much wider than this, however. I explore the evolutionary trajectory of human fatherhood. Paternal behavior is a prominent feature of our species" behavioral biology, with most models suggesting core features of it having been derived within the past few million years of evolution. Specific components--holding, provisioning, protecting, providing moral guidance--have evolved in mosaic fashion rather than as a complete package, and likely followed an earlier origin of long-term sociosexual bonding among our ancestors. The impacts of fatherhood on men’s lives take a variety of forms. While long-term sociosexual bonds often confer benefits on longevity, mortality impacts of fatherhood are less clear. Paternal behavior has measurable neuroendocrine effects, as recent brain imaging and hormonal studies have shown. Becoming a father often has sociosexual impacts, with studies finding declines in marital quality and sexual function in the wake of a new child. Several other health-related impacts of fatherhood include alterations in mood and depression, sleep, and body composition, suggesting an overall model in which involved fathering of a young child can yield negative health impacts that may subsequently rebound as a child grows older. Bio: Peter Gray earned a PhD from Harvard University in 2003 in Biological Anthropology. He was trained in comparative primate behavior, behavioral and reproductive endocrinology, and spent two years as a postdoctoral scholar in Clinical Endocrinology. Dr. Gray currently serves on the Anthropology faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His work aims to understand various aspects of human reproduction from an integrative, evolutionary perspective. Dr. Gray co-authored several books on the evolutionary perspectives of sexual behavior and social relationships for a general audience, most notably, Fatherhood: Evolution and Human Paternal Behavior.
|| PRESENTER 2: Sari van Anders, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychology & Women"s Studies University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Title: Biopsychosocial Approaches to Challenging Infant Interactions and Adult Reponses Abstract: Baby cries elicit strong responses as any caregiver, sibling, or airplane passenger knows. Most seriously, prolonged and/or unstoppable baby cries are cited by many as a leading influence on the likelihood of problematic and abusive caregiver behaviors. In this talk, I will address ongoing biopsychosocial research from my lab that uses a novel "infant doll" paradigm to experimentally investigate how challenging infant interactions affect testosterone and mood in caregivers, and may feedforward into caregiving behaviors. Interestingly, though well-established evolutionary theory predicts that caregiving and testosterone should be negatively associated, baby cries have been shown to increase testosterone. I will detail our lab"s research showing that contextual cues modify this, and that we can experimentally decrease testosterone in ways informed by our innovative theoretical framework "The Steroid/Peptide Theory of Social Bonds" (van Anders et al., 2011). I conclude by discussing the potential of this novel infant doll paradigm to provide critical insights into ameliorating the darker sides of caregiving (e.g. anger, frustration, violence) and enhancing the positives sides (e.g. intimacy, nurturance, reward). Bio: Sari van Anders is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Women"s Studies at the University of Michigan, and affiliate faculty in the Neuroscience, Reproductive Sciences, and Science, Technology, and Society Programs. Trained in behavioral neuroendocrinology, Dr. van Anders has published over 50 papers on hormones and intimacy in social context, attending to sexuality, nurturance, and partnering/pair bonding. Dr. van Anders is the PI on an R01 from the NIAID to study sexual modulation of HIV-related vaginal immunity, and was awarded the 2013 Association for Psychological Science Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. Dr. van Anders" work on challenging infant interactions focuses on how testosterone might influence "behavioral switches" from the nurturant to the problematic in caregivers. PRESENTER 3: Ronald B. Mincy, PhD Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice Columbia University School of Social Work Director of the Center for Research on Fathers, Children, and Family Well-Being (CRFCFW) Title: Improving the Onramp for Health Care for Low-and-Moderate Income Fathers Abstract: Drawing upon the provisions the Affordable Health Care Act Medicaid expansion and Exchange subsidy provisions and lessons of programs attempting to enroll at-risk men in health insurance program in Massachusetts, this presentation will examine the barriers to participation in the health care system facing low-income and moderate income fathers. Bio: Dr. Mincy is the Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Director of the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being (CRFCFW). He is also a co-principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. He has published widely on the effects of income security policy on child and family poverty, family formation, child well-being, responsible fatherhood, the urban underclass, and urban poverty. His 2006 edited volume Black Males Left Behind (Urban Institute Press) was featured in column A1 of The New York Times and brought national attention to the plight of young, less-educated Black males. He teaches Introduction to Social Welfare Policy, Program Evaluation, Advanced Methods in Policy Analysis, Micro-economics for Policy Analysis, Macro-Economics for Policy Analysis, and Economics for International Affairs. Dr. Mincy"s undergraduate and graduate training in economics were at Harvard University and M.I.T. He and his wife, Flona Mincy, have been married for nearly forty years and live in Harlem, New York. Moderator: H. Elizabeth Peters, PhD Director of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population Urban Institute Bio: Dr. H. Elizabeth Peters is the Director of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute. Previously she spent 17 years as a professor in the Department of Policy Analysis & Management at Cornell University, and was the founding director of the NICHD funded Cornell Population Center. Peters is an economic demographer who has published extensively on topics related to family formation, child support policy, welfare reform, child well-being, and father involvement. Her work has appeared in journals in economics, sociology, and psychology, and she is the co-editor of the volume Marriage and Family: Perspectives and Complexities published by Columbia University Press in 2009 and Fatherhood: Research Interventions and Policies, published by Haworth Press in 2000. From 1993-2004 Peters was a partner in the NICHD Family and Child Well-being Network, and she directed the Network"s fatherhood efforts. She was also a member of the steering committee which guided the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics" Nurturing Fatherhood initiative. From 2005-2012 Peters directed the NICHD Program Project Grant on the Transition to Fatherhood, a collaborative project across four research institutions analyzing the timing and circumstances of the transition to fatherhood.