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Children 2017, 4(11), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/children4110100

Parent Cardiac Response in the Context of Their Child’s Completion of the Cold Pressor Task: A Pilot Study

1
Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
2
Pediatric Chronic Pain Program, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, ON L8N 3Z5, Canada
3
Children’s Health Research Institute, London, ON N6C 2V5, Canada
4
Department of Paediatrics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2017 / Revised: 12 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
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Abstract

Parents’ ability to regulate their emotions is essential to providing supportive caregiving behaviours when their child is in pain. Extant research focuses on parent self-reported experience or observable behavioural responses. Physiological responding, such as heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV), is critical to the experience and regulation of emotions and provides a complementary perspective on parent experience; yet, it is scarcely assessed. This pilot study examined parent (n = 25) cardiac response (HR, HRV) at rest (neutral film clip), immediately before the cold pressor task (pre-CPT), and following the CPT (post-CPT). Further, variables that may influence changes in HR and HRV in the context of pediatric pain were investigated, including (1) initial HRV, and (2) parent perception of their child’s typical response to needle procedures. Time-domain (root mean square of successive differences; RMSSD) and frequency-domain (high-frequency heart rate variability; HF-HRV) parameters of HRV were computed. HR and HF-HRV varied as a function of time block. Typical negative responses to needle pain related to higher parental HR and lower HRV at rest. Parents with higher HRV at baseline experienced the greatest decreases in HRV after the CPT. Consequently, considering previous experience with pain and resting HRV levels are relevant to understanding parent physiological responses before and after child pain. View Full-Text
Keywords: pediatric pain; physiological responding; heart rate; heart rate variability; parent–child interactions pediatric pain; physiological responding; heart rate; heart rate variability; parent–child interactions
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Constantin, K.; Moline, R.L.; McMurtry, C.M.; Bailey, H.N. Parent Cardiac Response in the Context of Their Child’s Completion of the Cold Pressor Task: A Pilot Study. Children 2017, 4, 100.

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