This study examined relations between cardiac reactivity, family violence exposure (i.e., child maltreatment [CM] and inter-partner violence [IPV]), and preschool children's emotional adjustment. A sample of 92 mother-preschooler dyads was drawn from predominantly low-income, rural communities. Dyads participated in a laboratory session in which children's Electrocardiograph (ECG) monitoring occurred during a resting baseline, joint-challenge, and individual emotional and cognitive tasks. Mothers consented to review of Children & Youth Services (CYS) records for CM and completed an IPV measure. Mothers rated children's emotional adjustment, and observers rated children on their frustration and positive affect. Children's vagal suppression was shown to moderate relations between family violence exposure and emotional adjustment. Findings indicated that children greater in vagal suppression showed better emotional adjustment when from families low in violence. However, regardless of children's level of vagal suppression, all children showed poorer emotional adjustment when from families high in violence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology