Researchers who have spent nearly 20 years following the lives of at-risk boys have found those who become dads end up smoking less, drinking less and doing less crime.
The study adds to a body of research that points to key periods when men from disadvantaged backgrounds may be ripe for intervention.
David Kerr, assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University and lead author of the study said:
“This research suggests that fatherhood can be a transformative experience, even for men engaging in high risk behavior.
“This 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.”