Oxytocin seems associated with parenting style, and experimental work showed positive effects of intranasally administered oxytocin on parenting style of fathers. Here, the first double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject experiment with intranasal oxytocin administration to fathers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is presented. Fathers with their typically developing toddler (n = 18), and fathers of toddlers diagnosed with ASD (n = 14), were observed in two play sessions of 15 min each with an intervening period of 1 week. In all fathers oxytocin elevated the quality of paternal sensitive play: fathers stimulated their child in a more optimal way, and they showed less hostility which suggests the positive effects of oxytocin on paternal sensitive play irrespective of clinical status of their child.
- Sensitive parenting