Vasopressin and parental expressed emotion in the transition to fatherhood

Anna M. Lotz, Jolien Rijlaarsdam, Jurriaan Witteman, Willemijn Meijer, Kim van Dijk, Marinus H. van Ijzendoorn, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the last decades, parenting researchers increasingly focused on the role of fathers in child development. However, it is still largely unknown which factors contribute to fathers’ beliefs about their child, which may be crucial in the transition to fatherhood. In the current randomized within-subject experiment, the effect of nasal administration of vasopressin (AVP) on both Five Minute Speech Sample-based (FMSS) expressed emotion and emotional content or prosody was explored in 25 prospectivefathers. Moreover, we explored how the transition to fatherhood affected these FMSS-based parameters, using prenatal and early postnatal measurements. Analyses revealed that FMSS-based expressed emotion and emotional content were correlated, but not affected by prenatal AVP administration. However,child’s birth was associated with an increase in positivity and a decrease in emotional prosody, suggesting that the child’s birth is more influential with regard to paternal thoughts and feelings than prenatal AVP administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-273
Number of pages17
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the European Research Council [ERC AdG 669249 to M.J.B-K.]. We thank Dr. Richard Forsyth for kindly sharing the python implementation of the Needleman-Wunsch algorithm. We thank Dr. Paul Ramchandani for sharing the FMSS coding manuals.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • emotional prosody
  • Five Minute Speech Sample
  • paternal sensitivity
  • vasopressin


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