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Child Abusers' Responses to Infant Smiles and Cries

Ann M. Frodi and Michael E. Lamb
Child Development
Vol. 51, No. 1 (Mar., 1980), pp. 238-241
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129612
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129612
Page Count: 4
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Child Abusers' Responses to Infant Smiles and Cries
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Abstract

14 child abusers and a matched group of nonabusers watched videotapes of crying and smiling infants. Their psychophysiological responses were monitored throughout the session. After each videotape, the subjects described their emotional responses on a mood adjective checklist. The crying infant elicited heart-rate acceleration and increases in skin conductance and diastolic blood pressure from both groups, although the abusers experienced greater increases in heart rate and reported more aversion and less sympathy. Like other parents tested in this paradigm, the nonabusers responded to the smiling infant with no change in or declines in physiological activation. The abusers, however, responded to the smile and cry stimuli similarly.

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