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Journal Article


Crouch JL, Hiraoka R, McCanne TR, Reo G, Wagner MF, Krauss A, Milner JS, Skowronski JJ. J. Interpers. Violence 2018; 33(10): 1629-1652.


Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, USA.


(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)






The present study examined heart rate and heart rate variability (i.e., respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]) in a sample of 48 general population parents (41.7% fathers), who were either at high risk (n = 24) or low risk (n = 24) for child physical abuse. During baseline assessments of heart rate and RSA, parents sat quietly for 3 min. Afterward, parents were presented with a series of anagrams (either easy or difficult) and were instructed to solve as many anagrams as possible in 3 min. As expected, high-risk (compared with low-risk) parents evinced significantly higher resting heart rate and significantly lower resting RSA. During the anagram task, high-risk parents did not evince significant changes in heart rate or RSA relative to baseline levels. In contrast, low-risk parents evinced significant increases in heart rate and significant decreases in RSA during the anagram task. Contrary to expectations, the anagram task difficulty did not moderate the study findings. Collectively, this pattern of results is consistent with the notion that high-risk parents have chronically higher levels of physiological arousal relative to low-risk parents and exhibit less physiological flexibility in response to environmental demands. High-risk parents may benefit from interventions that include components that reduce physiological arousal and increase the capacity to regulate arousal effectively.

Language: en


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