Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Newborn Pain Cries and Vagal Tone: Parallel Changes in Response to Circumcision

Fran Lang Porter, Stephen W. Porges and Richard E. Marshall
Child Development
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), pp. 495-505
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130327
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130327
Page Count: 11
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($34.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Newborn Pain Cries and Vagal Tone: Parallel Changes in Response to Circumcision
Preview not available

Abstract

Clinical studies have demonstrated that the cries of chronically stressed, medically compromised infants are characteristically higher and more variable in pitch than those of healthy infants. Other studies have indicated that the vagal tone of chronically stressed infants is significantly reduced in comparison to that of normal infants. A neural model of cry production has been proposed which suggests that decreased vagal tone among infants at risk may, in fact, be related to these increases in cry pitch. Using routine, unanesthetized circumcision as a model of stress, we were able to examine the relation between cry acoustics and vagal tone in normal, healthy newborns undergoing an acutely stressful event. Vocalizations, heart, and respiratory waveforms were continuously recorded from 49 (32 experimental; 17 control) 1-2-day-old, full-term infants during preoperative, surgical, and postoperative periods. Vagal tone, as measured by the amplitude of respiratory sinus arrhythmia extracted from heart period data, was significantly reduced during the severe stress of circumcision, and these reductions were paralleled by significant increases in the pitch of the infants' cries. In addition, individual differences in vagal tone measured prior to circumcision surgery were predictive of physiological and acoustic reactivity to subsequent stress. These results emphasize the potential role of vagal control of the autonomic nervous system during stress.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[495]
    [495]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
496
    496
  • Thumbnail: Page 
497
    497
  • Thumbnail: Page 
498
    498
  • Thumbnail: Page 
499
    499
  • Thumbnail: Page 
500
    500
  • Thumbnail: Page 
501
    501
  • Thumbnail: Page 
502
    502
  • Thumbnail: Page 
503
    503
  • Thumbnail: Page 
504
    504
  • Thumbnail: Page 
505
    505