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A preliminary investigation of adult defence style and physiological reactivity to infant distress signals

Gould, Emma L., Lane, Tammy and Lewis, Andrew J. 2011, A preliminary investigation of adult defence style and physiological reactivity to infant distress signals, Psychology research, vol. 1, no. 6, pp. 410-421.

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Title A preliminary investigation of adult defence style and physiological reactivity to infant distress signals
Author(s) Gould, Emma L.
Lane, Tammy
Lewis, Andrew J.ORCID iD for Lewis, Andrew J. orcid.org/0000-0002-2519-7976
Journal name Psychology research
Volume number 1
Issue number 6
Start page 410
End page 421
Total pages 13
Publisher David Publishing Company
Place of publication Libertyville, Il.
Publication date 2011-12
ISSN 2159-5542
Keyword(s) infant distress signals
physiological responsiveness
defence mechanisms
galvanic skin response
HR (heart rate)
Summary Species whose offspring require extended care-giving ought to be predisposed to being biologically responsive to their infant's signalling. This paper examined the interplay between biological and psychological aspects of adult response to an infant's distress. HR (heart rate) and GSR (galvanic skin response) were recorded continuously, while 50 adults listened to white noise and an infant cry audio recording. Participants completed the defence style questionnaire and the state trait anxiety inventory. HR acceleration occurred in response to the control sound, while HR decelerated in response to the infant cry. GSR responsiveness was positively correlated with immature and neurotic defence styles. When controlling for other variables, immature defence was a unique and independent predictor of GSR change in response to infant distress. Defence demonstrated a stronger relationship than self-reported anxiety, than that with physiological responsiveness. Employing defence mechanisms appears to reduce an individual's perceived anxiety, though it has little effect on physiological arousal levels.
Language eng
Field of Research 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920410 Mental Health
HERDC Research category C3.1 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal
Copyright notice ©2011, David Publishing Company
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30052810

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.