The following article, First-time Dads Face Tougher Challenges Than Second-time Fathers: Study, was first published on Flag And Cross.
They take two years to get their relationship back on an even keel, compared to just 14 months the second time around.
But the new study will come as some comfort to those first-time dads struggling through the early years and dreading another child.
Most studies on post-birth satisfaction have been carried out on women, so researchers from Technische Universität Dresden|, in Germany decided to see how men fared.
As well as relationship satisfaction, the team looked at how variables like age, education, income, relationship duration, marital status, child’s biological sex, or child’s temperament might affect new dads.
They looked at data from 500 first-time dads and 106 second-time ones.
The survey asked about relationship satisfaction two months before the birth of the child, eight weeks, 14 months, and two years afterward.
Having a child was associated with a decline in relationship satisfaction for both first or second-time fathers.
However, new dads showed a higher level of relationship satisfaction before birth and a steeper decline in satisfaction after birth.
At eight weeks the first-time dads still tended to report higher relationship satisfaction than second-time ones but it continued to decline up until 14 months after birth.
In contrast, second-time fathers tended to report an increase in relationship satisfaction by 14 months that continued through the two-year check-in.
During both these points, second-time fathers had higher relationship satisfaction scores than first-time fathers, according to the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
This study is the first to show this type of satisfaction increase, which has not been reported in studies of second-time mothers.
They found no significant association between reported relationship satisfaction and the other variables studied except those in longer relationships tended to report lower relationship satisfaction initially.
Study author Dr. Judith Mack said: “The transition to parenthood can negatively affect the relationship satisfaction of fathers, more so for first than for second-time fathers, however, this can recover over time.
“Preparation and anticipation may be key.
“Similar to first-time mothers, first-time fathers seem to experience a stronger relationship decline during the transition to parenthood than second-time fathers, suggesting that especially couples becoming parents for the first time should be prepared for expected changes in their relationship.
“Fathers becoming parents for the first time should be prepared for changes in their relationship and know that, should they choose to have another child, the changes a newborn brings will likely be easier to weather.”3
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